Menerva

Arte etrusca

475 – 450 BC

12016/14P

Solid-cast bronze, 21.4 x 13cm

This bronze represents the Etruscan goddess Menerva armed and on the attack, her right arm raised in the act of brandishing a spear and her left extended before her to hold up a shield (both objects now missing). Showing Minerva in combat (Promachos), this is one of the most famous examples of small-scale Etruscan bronze sculpture. Although many images of this type are known, they are nonetheless not directly comparable with this bronze figure, whose movement is more easily compared with the Juno Sospita in the National Archaeological Museum of Florence. The statue was created in a workshop in northern Etruria for votive use and echoes the figurative language of the late Archaic Period, nearer to the so-called Severe Style preceding the Classical Period. 

Like the previous exemplars (inv. 12014; 12505) this bronze was part of the Tommaso Obizzi collections left by inheritance to the Este Dukes in 1805. It eventually entered the national collections at the Galleria Estense di Modena after the Unification of Italy.