Ancient Art Council

Ancient Art Department

Ancient Art Council
Legion of Honor

100 34th Avenue, Lincoln Park
San Francisco, CA 94121

The excavations of the Etruscan cities and cemeteries in the first half of the 19th century brought to light the most sensational jewelery. The delicate 6th-century BC goldsmiths’ work was soon highly prized by collectors and museums. The “Etruscan gold-fever” led European high society to order jewelery in the Etruscan style for grand occasions, such as royal weddings. Consequently a flourishing industry in the restoration, completion, and forgery of ancient jewelery developed.

Both the Antikensammlung in Berlin in the 1860s and the de Young Museum twenty years later acquired—like other museums in Europe and the US—some of the finest gold work from the Castellani Collection, belonging to the leading family of jewelers in Rome at that time. The use of a microscope made it possible to distinguish their imitations from the originals. Scientific analyses as well as experiments by goldsmiths have finally unveiled the secret of the delicate and unrivalled granulation technique of the Etruscan artisans.

About Programs at the Ancient Art Council

Programs are varied and include such activities as lectures by noted archaeologists, museum curators, and ancient art historians; exclusive tours of the Museum’s permanent collection and special exhibitions; fund-raising events; and travel programs to ancient sites and other museums. Members also receive invitations from related organizations to attend lectures ad exhibition openings. Your annual membership dues and contributions will assist in furthering the Ancient Art collection at the Fine Arts Museums.



Etruscan Gold Jewelry and Its Imitation in the 19th Century

Florence Gould Theater, Legion of Honor

Dr. Gertrud Platz

Lecture is free and open to the public: Donations are always welcome


Explore the Ancient Art Council: Upcoming Events


The Saga of Queen Zenobia and the Oasis City of Palmyra


A New Look at Ancient Nubia: Magic and Mystery on the Nile


On the Road from Persepolis


Deciphering Demons: Underworld Figures in Egypt and Etruria

Thank you for helping us acquire our first Egyptian royal portrait—a carved limestone relief of Ptolemy I Soter

Ancient Art Council supports Antiquities at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.



Last Supper in Pompeii: From the Table to the Grave

This exhibition reveals how, before Mount Vesuvius blew up in AD 79 and rocked the Bay of Naples, people in Pompeii and nearby farms and villages were engaged in typical daily activities, many of which revolved around food and drink.

May 7, 2021 - August 29, 2021