After the successful exhibition of Etruscan artefacts from the Hermitage collections held in 2008, Cortona plays host to an extraordinary exhibition showcasing unique antiquities from the world’s most renowned museum, the Louvre in Paris. Wishing to stage an encounter between the enlightened collecting philosophy that took its first steps in the tiny Tuscan hill-town in the 18th century, the results of recent excavations carried out in the area and such an impressive historical collection as the Louvre’s – where some of the greatest masterpieces of all times are reunited in a single place - the exhibition focuses on a fascinating subject: the relationships amongst the major centres of inland Etruria - between the Arno and Tiber valleys - that maintained direct cultural and political contacts with the populations of the eastern part of the peninsula.
What emerges is a new interesting picture of these relationships and an itinerary that takes us from Faesulae to the banks of the Tiber river, following the Arno from its source into the Valdichiana, and from there down to the gates of Rome, along a fascinating route through Chiusi, Perugia, Orvieto and the peculiar Faliscan world. The different stages of these relationships are analysed against the backdrop of the amazing accomplishments these centres achieved, not only in the field of arts and handicrafts, but also in the political and religious sphere.
The exhibition showcases bronze vessels, urns, sepulchral monuments, jewels and precious terracottas. Also on display, celebrated works such as the Head of Faesulae or some of the bronzes from the votive deposit of Falterona; fine handcrafted objects such as the ivory pyxis from the Castellani collection or the wonderful pendants from the Campana collection; and also the bronze figurine of Menerva, found in the surroundings of Perugia, the sarcophagi from Chiusi and the fine laminae found at Bomarzo. Loans from the Louvre also include exhibits that were never shown in Italy before as well as little-known yet exceptional artefacts such as the large terracotta bust of Arianna, the upper part of a monumental statue that lay unidentified in the museum’s storage rooms until as late as ten years ago. Today, the bride of Dionysus, with her ornaments and her ritual gesture, is regarded as one of the finest examples of Etruscan terracotta sculpture from the Hellenistic period.