Curated by Giulia Pedrucci
The exhibition focuses on issues relating to motherhood and breastfeeding in the ancient world through an anthropological approach , which aims to put people at the center. Within family dynamics, children appear at the center of a complex system of care and attention on the part of mothers and other figures, especially women (aunts, grandmothers, nurses). In this network of relationships, children were protected by every means available, with practices that ranged from religion, to magic, to medicine.
In the approach of the curator Giulia Pedrucci (currently Marie Skłodowska-Curie CO-FUND fellow at the University of Erfurt - Germany) the likelihood is important, based on hypothetical but plausible reconstructions, based on the method of "long duration" observable in aspects of life human within which there is a certain refractoriness to change (such as human psychology and the nature of interpersonal relationships). On display there are no "museum objects" but "small" votives, reflections and testimonies of the aspects of daily life for which they were created. Several artifacts leave the Museum's deposits for the first time and have been restored for the occasion. No "masterpieces" were chosen but works capable of illustrating the narrative and stimulating reflection . Visible traces of the beliefs, hopes and, ultimately, of the experience of those who left them. The purpose 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 assisted, or sometimes perhaps even hindered, the mother in the period from conception to achievement. of the child's adulthood. Numerous female figures gravitated around the mother and 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 what we usually think. Unfortunately, the written sources 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 the 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 from archeology. Votive statuettes of women with children are found throughout the ancient Mediterranean. They are commonly called kourotrophoi. In southern Etruria and Lazio they are numerous and precisely in these areas there is a type of statuette not attested elsewhere: that of the couple with a child. The couple can be made up of either two women or a man and a woman. Appropriately contextualized within what we know or can reconstruct about the Etruscan and Roman family, these statuettes seem to tell us a different "micro-history". For a long time, scholars have thought that the child in ancient society was not considered important, but the concerns, cares and attentions to which the child was constantly the object emerge from the reading that is proposed here.