Nuraghe Madonnas, mixed media, faces from the past

img_5421“Face of a Bronzetti,” Mixed Media, paper on canvas, 11″ x 14,” cold wax finish

img_5425“Madonna of Oliena,” Mixed Media, paper on canvas, 11″ x 14,” cold wax finish

img_5419“Woman of Bronze,” Mixed Media, paper on canvas, 11″ x 14,” cold wax finish

Our major search and discovery began on the island of Sardinia where we visited Nuraghi ruins and the few open museums. My fascination with Nuraghi bronzetti began when I visited Sardinia thirty five years ago. Their elegant shapes and unique abstract designs intrigued me. The Nuragic civilization developed between the Bronze Age and the Iron Age (from 1800 to 500 B.C.). Eight thousand nuraghic tower structures, 400 tombs of “Giants”, and sacred wells remain, vestiges of an impressive civilization. They created bronzetti, small bronze statues, (8th and 9th century B.C.) which often represented men, warlike creatures, boats, and animals using the lost wax technique. Female bronzetti were thought to be religious figures. What did these¬†interesting women look like, what did they do? What was their status? They left no clues, no written language. Were these statues a form of communication? The first image is a quick water color sketch of a female bronzetti with symbols of a Nuraghi tower in the background. “Woman of Bronze,” represents the features of the female statues and incised designs found on pottery with a bronze headpiece. “Madonna of Oliena” is my attempt to represent a young woman of that era. I included incised pottery and monument symbols in the background. I made an abstract drawing of a strong narrow face with skin stretched tightly over features and large round eyes. This drawing evolved to a more finished face. The large eyes stare nebulously through the ages. Was she a goddess, a shaman, or just a young girl? The layering of paint, glue, acrylic gloss, crackling, sfagritto (incised symbols in wet paint), and a final cold wax finish give depth to the pieces creating a feeling of past time.