Bronze Statuette of a Rider, late 5th century BCE

  • Etruscan


  • Framed: Overall: 10 7/8 × 4 1/8 × 4 5/8 inches (27.6 × 10.5 × 11.8 cm) Including base (mounted): 12 5/8 × 4 15/16 × 8 1/16 inches (32 × 12.5 × 20.5 cm)

City of Detroit Purchase


On View

  • Ancient Greek and Roman S2BB


Greco-Roman and Ancient European

  • Funerary art
  • Casting
  • Bronze
  • Sculpture
  • Equestrian
  • Riders, horseback
  • Riding
  • Spina
  • Comacchio

The rider is a fine example of the Etruscans’ skill in adapting the artistic style of another culture to create a work of art entirely their own. The naturalistic modeling of the figure, cast in solid bronze, shows Greek influence and inspiration, but the stiff folds of the toga, a garment characteristically Etruscan and Roman, adds a new dimension, as does the archaic face with large staring eyes and expression. The disparate elements have been successfully blended together into a calm dignified figure fashioned as a votive offering for a temple or grave.


1946-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)

Published References

Robinson, F.W. Small Bronzes of the Ancient World. Exh. Cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1947, p. 8, no. 41 (fig. 41). Robinson, F.W. and E.P. Richardson. "Recent Acquisitions of Ancient and Medieval Art." Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts 31, 3/4 (1951-1952): p. 67. Richardson, E. H. "The Etruscan Origins of Early Roman Sculpture." Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome 21 (1953): pp. 75-124 (fig. 33). Hanfmann, G.M.A. Etruskische Plastik. Stuttgart. 1956, p. 14 (pl. 23). Junker, H. "Vorromische Kunst in Sardinien, Mittel- und Norditalien.” Die Griechen und ihre Nachbarn 1 (1967): p. 309-328, no. 405. Teitz, R.S. Masterpieces of Etruscan Art. Worcester Art Museum, April 21-June 18, 1967, p. 76, no. 65. Mitten, D.G. and S.F. Doeringer. Master Bronzes from the Classical World. Exh. Cat., Fogg Art Museum. Cambridge, MA, 1967–1968, p. 176, no. 179. Strong, D. The Early Etruscans. New York, 1968, p. 125. Cummings, Frederick J. and Charles H. Elam, eds. The Detroit Institute of Arts Illustrated Handbook. Detroit, 1971, p. 35. Brendel, O.J. Etruscan Art,. Harmondsworth, 1978, p. 317. [2nd ed., New Haven:, 1995, pp. 317-318.] Family Art Game. DIA Advertising Supplement, Detroit Free Press, , May 20, 1979, p. 11 (ill.). Dohrn, T. Die etruskische Kunst im Zeitalter der griechischen Klassik. Die Interimsperiode, Mainz am Rhein, 1982, pp. 34-36 (pl. 19). 100 Masterworks from the Detroit Institute of Arts. New York, 1985, p. 32- 33 (ill.). Berti. F. and P.G. Guzzo. Ferrara, Castello Estense. "Spina: Storia di una città tra Greci ed Etruschi." Exh. cat., Castello Estense. Ferrara, 1993, p. 361-362, no. 925 (fig. 199). Hostetter, E. Bronzes from Spina I. Mainz am Rhein, 1986, pp. 193, 219. [Appendix 1.5] Small, J.P. "The Etruscan View of Greek Art." Münstersche Beiträge zur Archäologie 14-15 (1992-93): pp. 51-63. Henshaw, Julia, ed. A Visitors Guide: The Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1995, p. 115 (ill.). Colonna, G. "Il santuario extra-urbano diSpina in località Cavallara." Spina e il Delta padano. Reflessioni sul catalogo e sulla mostra ferrarese. Rome, 1998, pp. 221-226. [ed. by F. Rebecchi] Miari, M. Stipi votive dell'Etruria Padana. Rome, 2000, pp. 344-345. Die griechische Klassik: Idee oder Wirklichkeit. Berlin, 2002, pp. 619-622, no. 482. Bonfante, L. Etruscan Dress, 2nd ed. Baltimore, 2003, pp. 49, 200 (fig. 134). From the temple and the tomb: Etruscan Treasures from Tuscany. Southern Methodist University, Meadows Museum. Dallas, 2008 p. 46 (fig. 2). [not in exhibtion, illustrates essay by J. P. Small; incorrect acc. no. given] Caccioli, D. A. The Villanovan, Etruscan and Hellenistic Collections in the Detroit Institute of Arts. Monumenta Graeca et Romana, Vol. 14, Leiden, 2009, cat. no. 8, p. 31-35 (pls. 12-15).

Rights Status

Etruscan, Bronze Statuette of a Rider, late 5th century BCE, bronze. Detroit Institute of Arts, City of Detroit Purchase, 46.260.