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Etruscan black figure pottery from about 510 BC (Louvre)

Etruscan black figure pottery from about 510 BC (Louvre)

What was Etruscan pottery like?

The Etruscans ruled most of Italy in the 500s and 400s BC. During this time, they were making two kinds of fancy, expensive pottery. (They also made plain pottery for every day.)

Who were the Etruscans?
Classical Greek pottery
Roman pottery
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Etruscan red figure from about 410 BC

Etruscan red figure from about 410 BC

Some was like Greek pottery

One kind of fancy Etruscan pottery was basically in the same style as Greek pottery of the same time period. First the Etruscans made black-figure pottery. Then they followed the Greeks in making red-figure pottery.

What is black figure pottery?
And red figure?

How is it different from Greek pottery?

But Etruscan vase painters had their own ideas too. The people on Etruscan pots are usually livelier than on Greek pots, and looser in their movements. They’re not so stiff.

Etruscan bucchero pot

Etruscan bucchero pot

Etruscan bucchero pottery

The other kind of Etruscan pottery was all black. Often it had molded decorations on it. We call this second kind of Etruscan pottery bucchero (BOO-ker-oh). Bucchero was the Spanish word for a vase.

Another Etruscan bucchero pot

Another Etruscan bucchero pot

Some people think that bucchero was supposed to look like silver pots. Maybe people who couldn’t afford silver would buy this instead.

History of silver

You can see that it looks shiny. But even this black bucchero pottery may have been pretty expensive. Ordinary people mostly couldn’t afford it, and they used plain pottery without any fancy finishes on it.

Learn by doing: Greek vase painting project
More about Greek pottery
More about Roman pottery
And more about the Etruscans

Bibliography and further reading about Etruscan pottery:

Vulca the Etruscan, by Roberta Angeletti (1999). Easy reading.

The Etruscans, by Don Nardo (2004). Easy reading.

Hands-On Ancient People, Volume 2: Art Activities about Minoans, Mycenaeans, Trojans, Ancient Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans, by Yvonne Merrill (2004). Easy reading.

Etruscan Art, by Nigel Spivey (1997). A college textbook.

Etruscan Pottery: The Meeting of Greece & Etruria, by Mary Moser (University of Pennsylvania Museum, 1984).

Etruscan and Italic Pottery in the Royal Ontario Museum: A Catalogue, by John W. Hayes (1985). Hayes is the great expert on Roman pottery.

Roman pottery
Etruscan art
More about the Etruscans
More about Roman Art
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