Rome 11/07/2019 - 02/02/2020
An extraordinary selection of figurative wall plates and polychrome terracotta molded architectural decorations, originating from the territory of Cerveteri (the ancient city of Caere) and partly unpublished.
These are testimonies of fundamental importance for the history of Etruscan painting, recently returned to Italy thanks to the action of contrasting the illegal trafficking of archaeological finds of the Carabinieri and the cultural diplomacy of the Mibac.
At the beginning of 2016 the Carabinieri of the Cultural Heritage Protection Unit recovered in Geneva a huge quantity of objects illegally removed from Italy: together with figured vases from Magna Graecia and Roman statues, an extraordinary series of wall plates and architectural fragments were found Etruscans with lively polychromy, shattered in dozens of cases, without any coherent order.
A careful study and restoration activity carried out by SABAP on these finds, the result of clandestine excavations and therefore lacking context data, has allowed us to recognize slabs in a large number of fragments, thanks to their technical characteristics and refinement of execution. Etruscan paintings from ancient Cerveteri, known so far only from specimens found in some of the most important Italian and foreign museum collections.
This successful restoration of works was followed by the ratification of an important international cultural cooperation agreement signed between the Mibac and the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen, which led to the return from Denmark to Italy of a substantial series of fragments of Etruscan painted slabs , similar to those found in Geneva.
A first phase of study and research conducted on these precious materials, dated between 530 and 480 BC, culminated in an exhibition and an international conference of studies organized by SABAP at the Castle of Santa Severa (Santa Marinella, Rome) in June 2018, which is now followed by the Roman edition of the exhibition, in the prestigious headquarters of the Centrale Montemartini, in a set-up renovated and updated thanks to the presentation of the latest research results.
Through the articulated exhibition itinerary, the exhibition aims to offer the public a more comprehensive reading of the recovered Etruscan painted terracottas, divided by themes and types (companies of Hercules and other myths, dance, athletes and warriors; contexts ; the architectural terracottas) and illustrated by precious comparison materials, in many cases unpublished, trying to give back to these fragments, decontextualized from the excavation and from the clandestine trade, a series of precious information that allow them to provide again their invaluable contribution to the knowledge of the history and artistic production of ancient Caere at the height of its cultural splendor.
The valuable archaeological comparison materials displayed in the exhibition to accompany and deepen the issues addressed in the various exhibition sections are also in part the result of recoveries made by the Carabinieri, partly of refunds made on the basis of international agreements between the Mibac and prestigious foreign museums. To these materials is added the contribution provided by a precious group of Attic black and red figure vases belonging to the Castellani Collection of the Capitoline Museums, normally not exposed to the public, and chosen by thematic analogy.
The exhibition also aims to represent, with a specially dedicated section, the due recognition, in the fiftieth anniversary of its establishment, of the tireless activity carried out by the Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, engaged daily in its action to combat the illegal trafficking of works of art of the our country.