Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia verified

Roma, Lazio, IT open Visit museumarrow_right_alt


The show

Curated by Giulia Pedrucci

The exhibition focuses on issues concerning motherhood and breastfeeding in the ancient world through an anthropological approach, which aims to put people at the center. On display there are not "museum objects" but "small votive", reflections and testimonies of the aspects of daily life for which they were created. Several exhibits leave the Museum's deposits for the first time and have been restored for the occasion. No "masterpieces" were chosen, but works able to illustrate the narration and stimulate reflection. Visible traces of beliefs, hopes and, ultimately, of the lives of those who left them.

The aim of the exhibition is to investigate the issues concerning motherhood in the Etruscan and Roman world. Motherhood is analyzed from a new point of view: the focus is not exclusively on the mother and the child, but extends to all the figures who may have witnessed, or sometimes even hindered, the mother in the period from conception to achievement of the adult age of the child. Numerous female figures gravitated around the mother and the child with much more active roles than today. Without forgetting the father who, together with the pedagogue (teacher), was probably more present in the life of the little ones than he used to think.
Written sources unfortunately have left us little information and, moreover, indirect, usually mediated by male authors who wrote for the higher social classes or belonged to them. In addition to this, it is rare to find information regarding women and children in their daily life in works that have come down to us, which deal almost exclusively with "noble" literary genres, such as poetry, oratory, history.
A great help can come to us from archeology. Votive statuettes of women with children are present throughout the ancient Mediterranean. They are commonly called kourotrophoi. In southern Etruria and in Lazio there are numerous and just in these areas appears a typology of statuette not attested elsewhere: that of the couple with a child. The couple can be formed either by two women or by a man and a woman. Appropriately contextualized within what we know or can reconstruct about the Etruscan and Roman families, these statuettes seem to tell us a different "micro-history". Scholars have long thought that the child in ancient society was not considered important, but from the reading that is proposed here emerges the concerns, cares and attentions of which the child was constantly the object.

Timetable and tickets


Via di Villa Giulia, 9
00196 Roma


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