Collateral exhibition 24th Edition
In partnership with: Polo museale della Liguria
“Storie della città di Luna. Frammenti di vita all’ombra di Roma” (“Stories of the city of Luna: Fragments of life in the shadow of Rome”, staged in collaboration with the Polo Museale della Liguria, demonstrates, through a series of extraordinary discoveries from the Imperial period, how widely used this marble was as a decorative and architectural element, for creating objects of daily use, from mortars to scale weights, and in religious settings.
Together with the drawings by Carlo Promis in 1857 of the Luna digs, which began in 1800, Fiere di Parma will also feature the “Head of Eros”, son of Aries (god of war) and Aphrodite (goddess of beauty). Dating back to the 3rd century BC, this exceptional example of Classical sculpture was most probably part of a group representing the famous myth of Cupid and Psyche. You will also find the head of Medusa, the mosaic of Silenus (a bearded man from one side, and a male face with a rich head of hair when viewed the other way up) the Ocean mosaic and one of the bronze torches that completed the statue of the goddess Luna. Because they are so fragile and difficult to conserve, torches like this are rarely recovered in archaeological digs.
Another interesting object is a weight equivalent to 20 pounds engraved using the point technique, on public display for the very first time. The text alludes to a measures reform imposed by Emperor Claudius in 47 AD, and implemented by the aedili (Roman magistrates responsible for public buildings) in order to produce the so-called “true copies” for use by the local communities, so that they too could conform to a consistent Roman style.
These Museum of Luni artefacts, will be exhibited alongside its hidden art, pieces that have lain hidden in the Museum’s storerooms, invisible to the public until now.
Whilst the appeal of archaeology is clear – museums, sites, parks and monuments in Italy attract 27 million visitors, or 24% of the total (TCI source on 2015 ISTAT data) – it is generally the case that over 50% of Italy’s artefacts are kept in storage rather than made accessible in archaeological museums (Brunella Muttillo, Le risorse invisibili).
On the subject of this “hidden” art, Antonella Traverso, Director of the Museum of Luni, says: “I don’t think the quantity of material withheld from public view is ever a problem, but rather that it is the duty of museum staff to make sure that what they do choose to exhibit is truly visible, in the sense of intellectually accessible. I could fill display cases with thousands of marble fragments, but if I don’t properly convey the exceptional nature of the industrial centre of Luna, from which these tonnes of stone were excavated, then I have not done my job correctly”.
Whilst the Archaeological Museum of Luni currently exhibits around 200 objects, thousands lie in storage.