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Henri Labrouste : “View of an Etruscan Tomb” (1849)

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The character of the Etruscan tomb shown here, which may be an imaginary reconstruction using the earlier drawings as an “aide-mémoire,” reflects Labrouste’s interests. Although Labrouste does not include any of the wall paintings commonly found in such tombs, he does emphasize how the basic shape of the tomb and its decorative detail — particularly the striped frieze and the painted lintel above the door — worked together to create a unified space. The placement of the sarcophagi along the walls and the vases and other ceramic items underscores the orientation of the structure toward the steep steps that lead the visitor up and out of the tomb and into the Italian countryside. The placement of the light in the scene, which gradates from an extremely dark foreground to a light background, further enhances the shape, size, and direction of the room.

(Text courtesy of The Walters Art Museum, GNU FPL-1.3).

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