Friday, March 18, 2016

TFBT: Francois' Sacrifice of the Trojan Captives

I came across this image.  It is universal identified as “Sacrifice of the Trojan Captive, 200-100 B.C.  From Vulci, Francois Tomb.”  Tineye finds it on-line 25 times, but none of the resulting URLs belong to a museum.  

Wolfgang Helbig describes the image this way in 1896, [i]

“The Museo Etrusco, founded in 1836 by Pope Gregory XVI was originally intended as the depository for the numerous antiquities discovered since 1828…The side walls of this room (VIII) are hung with copies of painting which decorated the interior of a tomb-chamber at Vulci, discovered by Alexander Franciois in 1857. And were afterwards removed to the Museo Trolonia alla Lungara at Rome… (He describes our painting as; ) the grisly sacrifice offered by Achilles a the funeral pyre of his friend Patroclus…Achilles in the presence of Agamemnon thrusts his sword into the throat of a captive Trojan.  The shade of Patroclus is also represented in now way differentiated from the living, either in appearance or armor.  Beside Patroclus is a female daemon with out spread wings.  Vanth; perhaps (an Etruscan) goddess of death.  While on the other side of Achilles  the Etruscan Charon; Charus.

My question is whether we are looking at a photograph of the copy, Helbig saw at Museo Geroriano Etrusco or the original sent to the Torlonia family in Rome?  The website for the Gregorian Etruscan Museum  makes no mention of this painting, nor does the image the room currently designated by VIII show them hanging on the wall. And;

“Alessandro Torlonia, heir to Giovanni, opened the collection to visitors in their family palace on Via della Lungara, close to the Tiber River, in 1893. In the 1960s, the museum was dismantled and the 77-room palace was converted into a 93-unit apartment building. The collection was put into storage and has not been publicly displayed. In May 2005 the family that owned the collection agreed to sell the collection to the city of Rome”[ii]    

So, what are we looking at and where is it?

[i] Guide to the Public Collections of Classical Antiquities in Rome: by Wolfgang Helbig, provided by Google Books
[ii] Wikipedia

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