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In 1863 and 1865, Domenico Golini found the world-famous frescoed tombs that were named after him, in Orvieto’s territory, more precisely at Poggio del Roccolo di Settecamini, between Orvieto and Porano. It is a pair of monuments of exceptional artistic and documentary value that form a unicum in the territory they belong to (another painted tomb, which belonged to hescanas family, was discovered in the same area). For obvious reasons of safety and preservation, wall paintings were detached in 1950 and moved to the Orvieto National Archeological Museum where are now displayed in a space that has been designed to replicate the original tombs.

Tomba Golini I. Banchetto infero alla presenza di Ade e Persefone; restituzione grafica (da P. Bruschetti, Gli Etruschi a Orvieto. Collezioni e territorio, Città di Castello 2006, p. 69).

The Golini I tomb

The Golini I tomb, also called “dei Leinie” consists of a single, large quadrangular room with a tuff partition partition dividing it in two which, starting from the bottom wall, arrives at almost half of the sepulchral room. The fresco depicts a scene from a banquet in the underworld celebrating the dead man’s passage to the hereafter, where is welcomed by his ancestors with a feast. Very interesting is how architecture and painting merge using structural parts to separate materially and conceptually the illustrated scenes; the tuff partition, in fact, not only divides the area, but also separates the servile part from the main one; so the picture represents an essential ideological division and the two different stages of the feast: the scene from preparations and the scene from the real banquet.

Tomba Golini I. Servo con pestelli (da P. Bruschetti, Gli Etruschi a Orvieto. Collezioni e territorio, Città di Castello 2006)

The frescoes in the space on the left depict scenes from preparations for the banquet, showing servants and chefs who are preparing dishes and accompanied by an Etruscan flute player; very realistic is the picture of butchered carcasses hanging from hooks nailed to tables, as well as the scene of a slave who butchers meats. Another illustration depicts the other preliminary stages of the meal, as it shows the scene of the slave who is grinding foods, maybe spices, with pestles in a big three-feet bowl; there are also people who are lighting a fire or those who are preparing a long trapeza with tableware.

The frescoes in the space on the right depict the dead man who, on a chariot pulled by horses, with a winged genius (lasa), reaches the hereafter before Hades and Persephone; the underworld couple, seated on a litter, presides over the banquet attended by the ancestors and members of the Leine’s family, whom the tomb belongs to, whereas naked slaves prepare a magnificent tableware in an area lit up by high candelabras. Almost all characters represented in both the areas, as well as animals, are accompanied by inscriptions, a kind of captions aiming to recall the genealogy of the family members, the positions they occupied, but also the different roles played by slaves.

The Golini II tomb

The Golini II tomb or “delle due Bighe” (the tomb of the two chariots) consists of a single rectangular sepulchral chamber where stand out the illustrated scenes, unfortunately very damaged and sometimes illegible. The subject is very similar to that of the above-mentioned burial, the arrival of a pair of dead in the Hades where is taking place a banquet cheered by lituus and trumpet players.

Tomba Golini I. Inserviente che prepara pietanze (da P. Bruschetti, Gli Etruschi a Orvieto. Collezioni e territorio, Città di Castello 2006)

The main characters are depicted on the sides of the entrance door; the man on the left arrives on a chariot drawn by two horses, behind him the wall is painted with a procession of six characters going towards two klinai, where there are two couples of banqueters who are identified by inscriptions as members of cnezus family. To the right of the door there is another chariot led by a charioteer, whereas the wall shows three klinai similar to the previous ones; the characters depicted are identified by inscriptions as members of the Vercnas family. The frescoes that adorned the bottom wall are now badly deteriorated, except for few fragments concerning figures of warriors.

A Pictorial School

Both the monuments date back to the second half of the IV Century B.C. and show a consistency of conception that points out the existence of a studio or a local pictorial school which, most likely, stopped working after the destruction of the city in 264 B.C.

In conclusion, it is worth stressing that the above-mentioned tombs not only are a valuable and rare historical and artistic evidence of the Etruscan Volsinii painting in the late classical and Hellenistic age, but also they have an important documentary value due to the photographs of the daily aspects and of the customs that characterized the aristocracy life of the time. They also represent one of the latest signs of the figurative theme of the symposium in the Hereafter where the living and the dead feast together; then the subject of grave painting will be replaced with a new concept of tomb which becomes a three-dimensional representation of the Underworld where all the family members buried there take part in an eternal banquet.

 

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-F. Boitani, M. Cataldi, M. Pasquinucci, Le città etrusche, Milano 1973.
-M. Cristofani, Etruschi. Cultura e società, Novara 1978.
-M. Cristofani, Dizionario della civiltà etrusca, Firenze 1985.
-P. Bruschetti, Gli Etruschi a Orvieto. Collezioni e territorio, Città di Castello 2006.
-Camporeale, Gli Etruschi. Storia e civiltà, Torino 2000.
-A. E. Feruglio, Porano. Gli Etruschi, Perugia 1995.
-M. Torelli, Storia degli Etruschi, Bari 1981.
-Torelli 1985 M. Torelli, L’arte degli Etruschi, Bari 1985.
-M. Torelli, “Limina Averni”. Realtà e rappresentazione nella pittura tarquiniese arcaica, in M. Torelli, Il rango, il rito e l’immagine. Alle origini della rappresentazione storica romana, Milano 1997, 122-151.
-M. Torelli (ed.), Gli Etruschi, Milano 2000.

«Who works with his hands is a laborer. Who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. The one who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist»

(S. Francesco)

My name is Anna and I am a designer. My great passion for home, furnishing and everything is done by hand, allowed me to fulfil my great dream: nowadays I had the good luck to do the job I like.

I was born in Assisi and I have always lived in my native village, the birthplace of St. Francis; for love of my country and for working reasons I settled here; in the last few years I have met several artisans on my way and I have establish with them many relationships to give a contemporary interpretation of all that is traditional.

Was it bound to happen? …maybe! My father is a craftsman, a carpenter and a restorer. As a child I spent a lot of summers in his workshop where I still pass my time, indeed my father is the main craftsman I work together with.

In this column I will talk you about arts and crafts, materials, design, creativeness, all those places characterized by Umbria’s outstanding features which are done good and with heart!

The Joiner's Workshop

Today my journey starts closely, from the place which affected me to become a designer: the Workshop of Fulvio Bertinelli.

The carpenter’s shop is welcoming: it is located in an industrial estate but fortunately it gives onto the country, whereas the higher windows overlook the Assisi hills and all other small villages surrounded by vegetation. This place looks contemporary but has an ancient flavour… it preserves an old knowledge about the technique and experience handed down! Whenever I enter, I am immediately affected by the evocative scent of wood, which takes me back to another dimension arousing an exciting sensory play. It happens every time! However, before losing myself in stories about essences and features of this material that I love, I wish to talk you about the work in carpentry.

Tools

All work done by my father is handcrafted; in the joiner’s shop there are some modern machines which are very indispensable to work, even if many steps necessary to manufacture a piece of furniture are still carried out by hand, with manual machines, as we did hundreds of years ago.

Plane, file, rasp, chisel: they are small tools offering a great charm to the handcrafted furniture. It keeps knowledge, techniques, and the good produced will show evidence of handwork made in a precise, meticulous and careful way. From the accurate and skilled work of the carpenter, wooden boards turn into high-quality and well-finished masterpieces. Oil, shellac, beeswax: they are just some possible natural finishes, but since wood is a natural and living material, these finishes are the most recommended to the customer who wishes a first-rate and “green” object, one hundred per cent.

A Balm for the Senses

The carpenter’s job is surely a complex one; it consists of stages of study and research, feasibility study, employment of the technique, choice of wood and finishes… But I think this job offers you the great privilege of being in contact with a living, warm, scented, coloured material that is also agreeable to the touch. So, the sensory play is again stimulated when I observe and touch all the essences that are in the shop; mostly local woods, that are typical of our territory: the valuable, solid, smooth and rich brown walnut; the white and “rough” oak, often treated with the technique of brushing; the soft and white poplar of modest value, Albanello of old craftsmen; the bright pink cherry, chestnut with its clear nuances, the mystical, bended and knotted olive…

Wood is fascinating, we feel better when we touch it and smell it. I have performed an experiment, recently: I kept wood chips of different essences in hermetic sailing jars (so the smell of the freshly wood is not lost!) and I got many people to smell them. The evocative power of these scents is surprising… nobody left without a memory called back to mind!

Tell me: aren’t you curious to go in the carpenter’s shop to see, touch and smell?

 

 

 

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