She-Wolf, Capitoline Museum

From Etruria (Magna Graecia)
500-480 BCE
about 33 ½ inches; hollow-cast bronze

She-Wolf with Romulus and Remus

Although this statue has become symbolic of the founding of Rome, the original Etruscan statue probably had nothing to do with that legend. The bronze figures of the twins, representing the founders of the city of Rome, were added in the late fifteenth century, perhaps by Antonio del Pollaiuolo.
This work is contradictory. The animal has thin flanks with protruding ribs at the same time that it communicates ferocity, power, and intensity, seen in the taut legs, the glaring eyes, the alert ears, and the ferocious muzzle. The wary pose is combined with heavy milked-filled teats.

Incised details

Stylistically the sculpture is contradictory. The Etruscans were accomplished bronze workers; here this sculpture combines naturalism and stylization, the latter seen especially in the incised curly coat of the she-wolf.

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© 2006 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.