This elegant antefix is distinguished by its remarkable craftsmanship and the fact that it differs from Ionian models. Because of trade and the arrival in Etruria and Greater Greece of many Ionian artists fleeing the Persian threat, many Archaic antefixes with female heads were directly inspired by eastern Greek art, which was widespread during the late 6th century BC. However, here the imprint of the Ionians is tempered by the influence of Athenian works, an influence that had become increasingly marked at the beginning of the 5th century. The attention to decorative detail is still very much in evidence: the undulating red-brown hair across the forehead falls in thick tresses behind her ears, the low diadem, a kind of broad tiara, is adorned with a radiate and dot design, and the heavy ear-studs are embellished with rosettes. Nevertheless, the face is longer, and the modeling is more three-dimensional and less linear. As in Attic sculpture, the forehead is high, the cheekbones are clearly defined, and the almond-shaped eyes are more open and less narrow than in Ionian art. The expression on the face is more serious, the full red lips barely smiling, heralding the complete disappearance of the Archaic smile. At the back the remains of the attachment arch are preserved.
Etruscan, Archaic Period, circa late 6th - early 5th century B.C.
Provenance: Private collection of Stuart Giles, South Australia, early 1960s, acquired from the estate by Aegidea Galleries, Adelaide, South Australia between 1978 and 1983, thereafter in a private Tasmanian collection. Provenance includes a copy of the Aegidea Catalogue entry showing the antefix, and an Oxford TL test requested by Sotheby's London, dating to 1985.