Villa Giulia Rome: Etruscan urn shines again after restoration work

One of the most emblematic exhibits in the collections of the National Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia in Rome, depicting an Etruscan woman who lived more than 2,500 years ago, has been restored by Co.Re.Co under the coordination of the Museum’s Restoration Service. It is a terracotta cinerary urn dating back to the second half of the 6th century B.C., very unusual in its kind, as it depicts a female figure lying on a kline, the ancient convivial bed on which guests at banquets would lie. It must have contained the remains of an Etruscan woman of high society who lived and died in ancient Caere, now Cerveteri. In its sumptuous and refined appearance, it gives a very precise image of how women of the time liked to be represented: fine accessories and gaudy jewellery denote luxury and a desire to display their social status.

This is a particularly fragile and fragile work of art, reassembled from various fragments and therefore in need of specific and renewed restoration work to ensure its preservation and better use by the public, also in the light of the movements required for possible temporary exhibitions.

The restoration was made possible thanks to the contribution of Q8, a partnership that is consistent with the museum’s mission, which has among its objectives not only the protection, enhancement and accessibility of the cultural heritage within its competence, but also the active involvement of the community, the citizens and the development of close ties with the territory, thus encouraging the formation of heritage communities in the spirit indicated by the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (Faro 2005).

“This partnership is based on an awareness of the importance of enhancing the specific features of our heritage, of dialoguing with the territory also through the support of projects that allow a better understanding of our past,” says Valentino Nizzo, director of the National Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia. He added: “We are grateful to Q8 for espousing our philosophy and allowing us to return to the public in an even more ‘seductive’ form an extraordinary work of art, truly unique in its kind because, like the famous Sarcophagus of the Bride and Groom, it helps us to understand in every detail the image and role in society of an Etruscan woman”.

This fruitful collaboration, born with the support of LoveItaly, made it possible to carry out a very complex restoration operation, carried out with the aim of ensuring the long-term preservation of the artefact and the restoration of the legibility of the shape and surface in order to understand the meaning of the object. In addition to cleaning, the work involved the consolidation of fracture lines, the dismantling of some parts, the recomposition of the artefact with its integration, plastering and final protection. In addition, a new support was designed and produced, the technical characteristics of which were agreed upon in relation to the particular complexity of the work.

“We are very proud to have supported this restoration project,” explains Livio Livi, Q8’s board member and director of Human Resources and External Relations. “Q8 thus confirms its commitment to sustainability in all its dimensions: we are convinced – continues Livi – that companies play not only an economic role, but also a social one, supporting the community and the territory. The museum, and in particular the work of art in question, had particularly struck us for the equal and therefore avant-garde role that women played in Etruscan society: an ante litteram testimony to the idea of inclusion that we also share in our company”.

Exclusively on Thursday 21 and Tuesday 26 October, at 12.00 noon and 4.00 p.m., the work of art will be on display outside its showcase in the Sala della Fortuna, where it will be possible to discover details of the restoration work carried out by the restorer Miriam Lamonaca and the restorers of the De.Co.Re company.


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