A new exhibition at the Musée Maillol in Paris spotlights the culture of the Etruscan people, who predated the Romans as leaders among the Mediterranean’s great civilisations.
The discovery of many graves during the 19th century constituted archaeologists’ primary source of information on the Etruscans. As such, their history is often presented through stories associated with their burial traditions. However, this exhibition explores the daily life of the Etruscans and the culture that developed between the 9th and 2nd centuries BC, in an area that today corresponds to the Italian peninsula.
Vincent Jolivet is an expert at the museum: “This exhibition shows that there is not just one Etruscan civilisation and one Etruscan art,” he said. “It was truly a diverse population, which was able to integrate all kinds of influences. And it integrated them in a way that was not at all prescriptive or uniform, but instead very diverse depending on the different cities and different eras.”
With 250 works, from prestigious institutions in Italy and other European countries, the exhibition aims to study the Etruscans in the light of their everyday lives; using architecture to link the first huts to the founding of cities during the seventh century and on to the Roman conquest of Etruria in 351: “The objects are difficult, or rather, interesting to decrypt,” Jolivet elaborated. “There are documents which seem to be linked to Egypt, and this could be true. Others recall items from the Phoenician or the Carthaginian world, and that is also true. In addition, the Greek world is very present.”
The exhibition commemorates the disappearance of a people who left behind a fascinating cultural heritage, which had a profound influence on Rome.
It runs until 9th February 2014.