The exhibition “The moment and eternity” opens its doors in Rome. Between us and the ancients – L’istante e l’eternità. Tra noi a gli antichi”, which takes place in collaboration with the Ministries of Culture of Greece (Ephoria of Antiquities of the Cyclades) and Italy.
The exhibition is housed in a wing of the Baths of Diocletian, which has remained closed since 1911, and is the result of the close collaboration of the competent departments of the two ministries. Through around 300 selected works – Greek, Roman, Etruscan and Italian, medieval, modern and contemporary – he explores, in unexpected and spectacular ways, the intricate and intricate relationship of the modern with the ancient.
“At the heart of the exhibition is the coupling of two ancient cultures”
In her greeting, the Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni noted among other things: “The very important exhibition “L’istante e l’eternità. Tra noi e gli antichi”, confirms the excellent and diversified cooperation between Greece and Italy in the cultural field, both in the field of cultural heritage and in the field of modern culture.
At the center of the exhibition is the unique historical relationship and the coupling of two ancient civilizations: the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, which were briefly called “Greco-Roman civilization”, forming the first stone of the monumental edifice of our common European history. and identity, catalytically influencing how the entire western world perceives its antiquity and heritage. A heritage that is perceived as a material and immaterial legacy, as a historical memory, a spiritual and aesthetic culture, a distinct worldview, which links time and allows us to feel a familiarity and connection with the distant past.
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The Greek part has contributed to the exhibition some of the most important masterpieces of Greek museums, such as the famous mosaic of Dionysus of Delos or the “Chiotissa” Kori of the Acropolis Museum, as well as unique exhibitions exhibited for the first time in front of an international public:
Among them, Gorgo de Paros, a statue from the 6th century. BC, and of course the shocking Kori of ancient Thera, a colossal statue from the 7th century BC. which leaves us speechless with its size and details.
Through the admiration of unique works dating from the 3rd millennium BC. to this day we realize that despite the distance in time, we and the ancients may have more in common than differences: we admire the beautiful, we struggle and rejoice in life, we travel and know the people and the world, we love, we care about our loved ones, we try to heal our sick, we mourn our dead with the same feelings, the same hopes, the same fears and – despite technological advances – often with the same means .
I am sure that this important exhibition will be a great success, because it is the result of a great and diligent effort based on a deeply humanitarian approach, necessary in the difficult times we are all going through, I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart and congratulate the executives of the two ministries of culture, Greece and Italy, and all the contributors. In particular, the curators Massimo Osana, General Director of Museums, Stephan Verger, Director of the Museo Nazionale Romano, Maria Luisa Catoni, Professor at the Scuola IMT Alti Studi Lucca, and Dimitris Athanasoulis, Superintendent of Antiquities of the Cyclades, who, in collaboration with Electa, with the support of the Parco Archeologico di Pompei and the participation of Scuola IMT Alti Studi Lucca and della Scuola Superiore Meridionale have managed to offer us not only an exhibition, but one of the most important international cultural events of this year. I sincerely hope that all these precious exhibits will be transported and exhibited in Greece, so that residents and visitors of the other ancient city, Athens, can also enjoy them.”
The first room of the exhibition opens with an exhibition that most clearly expresses this dual relationship: the cast of two anonymous victims of the eruption of Vesuvius whom archeology has restored, as if eternally immobilized at the time of the death. Around them there are various folk and cultured forms of modern reinterpretation of the old.
The second room explores the forms of transmission and tradition of Antiquity, through art and literature: How the great mythical cycles – the Homeric cycles of the Iliad and the Odyssey – transmitted in various forms from the Antiquity, have remained alive in the modern popular imagination – and how, on the contrary, other mythical traditions have fallen into oblivion, only to be rediscovered thanks to the philological rediscovery of ancient literature.
A guided tour of the exhibition in Rome
In the third room we move from myth to ancient representations of space and time, which take the form of deities, personifications and abstract entities that gave rise to our spatial and temporal categories. Thus ends a first journey towards eternity – the Eternal – and the immutable order of the world.
In the second part of the journey, the relationship of identification is presented which, despite the temporal distance that separates us from the elders, makes them familiar. In the hall, important moments of social life are presented through spectacular recent discoveries.
Antiquity bequeathed an inexhaustible variety of representations of the individual, from Neolithic statues to sophisticated Classical and Hellenistic compositions. A large selection of these illustrations is exhibited in the next room.
Exhibitions that stand out
In particular, the colossal archaic statue of the Daughter of Thera, 2.48 m high, one of the oldest great Greek sculptures, exhibited for the first time outside Santorini, the bronze statue of the speaker and the one of the Sardinian giants of Mont’ and Prama.
Around these deified human figures, we trace the long journey that leads the deceased to the afterlife, both through representations of the funeral ritual and through beliefs about the afterlife transmitted since Antiquity.
The visitor on this path of discovery and confrontation is accompanied by works that are extremely representative of the museums of Greece and Italy. Many exhibited works are presented to the public for the first time: quite recent major discoveries such as the restored ancient chariot from Civita Giuliana and the statue of Hercules from the archaeological park of Appia Antica, the Etruscan vase with the 4th BC . . illustrating the Trojan War, new acquisitions, such as the Tabula Chigi from the National Roman Museum, are combined with major exhibits from Greece, such as the imposing Archaic Gorgo of Paros, a great work of Parian sculpture, which has for its first time exhibited outside the museum of Paros or the large two-faced paleologian icon in the cathedral of the Catholic Archdiocese of Naxos.
The exhibition consists of 300 pieces of which 82 are the contribution of Greek museums, the majority of which (49) come from the collections of the Ephoria of Antiquities of the Cyclades. The exhibition can be visited from May 4 to July 30, 2023.