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Nov 18, 2012

Villa Giulia: the eternal banquet of an Etruscan couple.

Ancient Etruscan Sarcophagus of the Spouses, 520 BC, made of terracotta which was once brightly painted, currently located at the Villa Giulia National Etruscan Museum, Rome.
From the Banditaccia necropolis in Caere (modern Cerveteri), previously owned by the Ruspoli family, from which Felice Barnabei, founder of the museum, bought broken into more than 400 fragments! 
However, its function remains uncertain because burial and cremation were both practiced by the Etruscans. It may actually have been a large urn designed to contain the ashes of the deceased. Another example similar to this work is known (Louvre, Paris).
The urn is shaped as a bed upon which the deceased are resting and banqueting. The Etruscans, like the Greeks had adopted the Eastern custom of feasting in a reclining position. Etruscan women, who held an important place in society, could take part in a banquet (in Greece only men were admitted).

Nov 16, 2012

Centrale Montemartini. Not the average museum in Rome.

Agrippina the Younger.

What if the location for a collection of classical statues is a disused power station?
It happens in Rome where as many as 400 statues from the Capitoline Museums are housed since 1997 in the first public power station in Rome, built in 1912, named after its designer and fallen into disuse in 1963.
The result is certainly original:  the unusual contrast of Ancient Roman art and industrial archaeology is fascinating. 
When in 1995 humidity menaced the Roman sculptures on display in the Galleria Lapidaria wing of the Capitoline Museums the problem was solved by moving them to the Centrale Montemartini.
The first exhibition in 1997 The Machines and the Gods was to be only temporary but thanks to its success the 400 Roman sculptures remained.