The Winged Horses - Tarquinia

Largo Cavour, 1 tarquinia

Hall 9 of the National Etruscan Museum of Tarquinia keeps an item that has become a symbol of the contemporary city of Tarquinia: an architectural plate with a pair of winged horses in relief. The plate comes from the Ara della Regina, a sanctuary that overlooked the Civita hill, the plateau over which stood the Etruscan town. The “Altar of the Queen” is the greatest known Etruscan temple. The plate was fastened with nails to the head of one of the beams supporting the roof; In the Etruscan temple, in contrast to the Greek, the pediment was open, so the architectural decoration was limited to plates like this. The winged horses were yoked to a chariot, of which you can see the rudder: the animals are portrayed in the instant before the flight in the celestial spaces. The pair is part of a more complex scene that, apparently, continued on a second plate, forever lost. The disproportion of the horse bodies was noticeable through a careful observation: the legs, indeed, are short compared to the total height of the figures. But this is not a gross mistake of the Tarquinian artisans: on the contrary, these defects are the result of optical corrections to give the viewer the impression that the horses are absolutely perfect from the anatomical point of view. The plate, in fact, had to be at a height of 6 to 8 meters above the ground: if the horses had been reproduced taking into account the precise proportions, a viewer from below would have had the impression that the horses had a slender body supported by overlong legs. The plate belongs to the rebuilding and restoration of the temple, dating from the early fourth century BC.

Hall 9 of the National Etruscan Museum of Tarquinia keeps an item that has become a symbol of the contemporary city of Tarquinia: an architectural plate with a pair of winged horses in relief. The plate comes from the Ara della Regina, a sanctuary that overlooked the Civita hill, the plateau over which stood the Etruscan town. The “Altar of the Queen” is the greatest known Etruscan temple. The plate was fastened with nails to the head of one of the beams supporting the roof; In the Etruscan temple, in contrast to the Greek, the pediment was open, so the architectural decoration was limited to plates like this. The winged horses were yoked to a chariot, of which you can see the rudder: the animals are portrayed in the instant before the flight in the celestial spaces. The pair is part of a more complex scene that, apparently, continued on a second plate, forever lost. The disproportion of the horse bodies was noticeable through a careful observation: the legs, indeed, are short compared to the total height of the figures. But this is not a gross mistake of the Tarquinian artisans: on the contrary, these defects are the result of optical corrections to give the viewer the impression that the horses are absolutely perfect from the anatomical point of view. The plate, in fact, had to be at a height of 6 to 8 meters above the ground: if the horses had been reproduced taking into account the precise proportions, a viewer from below would have had the impression that the horses had a slender body supported by overlong legs. The plate belongs to the rebuilding and restoration of the temple, dating from the early fourth century BC.

42.2535581,11.755655899999965,13

Hall 9 of the National Etruscan Museum of Tarquinia keeps an item that has become a symbol of the contemporary city of Tarquinia: an architectural plate with a pair of winged horses in relief. The plate comes from the Ara della Regina, a sanctuary that overlooked the Civita hill, the plateau over which stood the Etruscan town. The “Altar of the Queen” is the greatest known Etruscan temple. The plate was fastened with nails to the head of one of the beams supporting the roof; In the Etruscan temple, in contrast to the Greek, the pediment was open, so the architectural decoration was limited to plates like this. The winged horses were yoked to a chariot, of which you can see the rudder: the animals are portrayed in the instant before the flight in the celestial spaces. The pair is part of a more complex scene that, apparently, continued on a second plate, forever lost. The disproportion of the horse bodies was noticeable through a careful observation: the legs, indeed, are short compared to the total height of the figures. But this is not a gross mistake of the Tarquinian artisans: on the contrary, these defects are the result of optical corrections to give the viewer the impression that the horses are absolutely perfect from the anatomical point of view. The plate, in fact, had to be at a height of 6 to 8 meters above the ground: if the horses had been reproduced taking into account the precise proportions, a viewer from below would have had the impression that the horses had a slender body supported by overlong legs. The plate belongs to the rebuilding and restoration of the temple, dating from the early fourth century BC.