An extraordinary exhibit opened on September 18th at the Musée Maillol in Paris:
A Hymn to Life. The grand title is well merited. The Etruscans were a people-group who inhabited central Italy from the ninth-century BCE up until (and into) the time of the Romans. Their political structure, similar to that of ancient Greece, was based on a confederation of powerful city-states, whose “golden age” began in the 7th century BCE. The later Romanization of Etruria, beginning in the early 4th century, was a gradual process, and the Etruscan people had a significant influence on Roman culture and artistic traditions. (The name “Tuscany” comes from the Latin Tusci or Etrusci.)
This exhibit intends to showcase the lesser-known side of Etruscan art: the art of daily life.
(A similar sarcophagus lid, though not as elaborate, for a single burial can be found right here in Texas at the San Antonio Museum of Art!)
Etruscan tombs have also yielded beautiful finds such as this polychromatic fresco from the so-called Tomb of the Leopards from Tarquinia.
But the Etruscans’ funerary art tells only part of the story of this fascinating culture.
“It is precisely the different aspects of daily life of this happy and peaceful civilization that will be highlighted in this exhibition, through the exploration of the great cities of this confederation: Veii, Cerveteri, Tarquinia and Orvieto. Religion, writing, weapons, painting and sculpture, craftsmanship in gold and silver, bronze and ceramics will be on display” (Musée Maillol). The exhibit will also focus on architecture, especially its development over time.
This drawing of an Etruscan temple shows how the edges of the roof would have been adorned with terracotta figures (acroteria) such as this dynamic figurine of Apulu (Apollo) from Veii, sporting the familiar archaic smile.
The exhibit is a must-see on any trip to Paris in the near future!
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