Sketchbook Umbria – votive figures


A4 sketchbook – 5th Century BC votive figures found in Umbria, Italy

I made a fascinating discovery in the archaeological museum in Palazzo Trinci in Foligno .. they have a collection of 81 tiny bronze figures that were dug up  locally. They are approximately 5th Century BC and would have been offered  to the gods when making a pledge  or promise of some sort.


I am  intrigued and excited by these simple figures which are strangely full of life. I’m sure each has its own meaning. There are  male and female figures, weird headdresses or helmets, different postures. All the info in the museum was in Italian and very brief at that. I can’t find much on the web although I did come across some elongated Etruscan votive figures (same region, same approx date) which resemble Giacometti’s statues and may have influenced him.

votives3I’ve drawn these figures quickly and simply in my sketchbook and I will definitely come back to them… it seems to me that there are endless possibilities. The liveliness of them makes me want to arrange them in a dancing circle like Matisse’s dancers and give them  leaping shadows. Perhaps I could reproduce them in modelling clay and then arrange them at different angles and then paint them? It’s an exciting thought…

I’m getting distracted again… or am I simply avoiding the next exercise on perspective!!?

standing-figuresAddition of standing figures

On a similar theme, I came across some small standing figures at the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts when I visited in January 2016 so I’m adding my sketch of these to this post. I’m quite sure I’m going to find a way of using these one day. I’m particularly struck by the broken limbs.

Also see votive figures in my  Ready-made still life arrangements post.


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