SMU connection highlights landmark Etruscan exhibition

(Originally published Jan. 22, 2009.)

Etruscan gold diademSMU’s Meadows Museum honors the 15th anniversary of University Distinguished Professor of Art History P. Gregory Warden‘s groundbreaking archaeological excavation in Poggio Colla, Italy with an exhibition dedicated to the ancestors of Rome: the Etruscans.

From the Temple and the Tomb: Etruscan Treasures From Tuscany” is the most comprehensive exhibition of Etruscan art ever undertaken in the United States, with more than 400 objects spanning the 9th through 2nd centuries B.C. “New Light on the Etruscans: Fifteen Years of Excavation at Poggio Colla” will offer a look into the rare and dramatic finds from this important Etruscan site, including almost 100 objects from its sanctuary and from a habitation and center of ceramic production discovered in a field below its acropolis.

Etruscan 'canopic' urnBoth exhibitions will run from Jan. 25 to May 17. An opening reception for SMU faculty and staff is scheduled for 4:30-6 p.m. Feb. 5.

The shows join the Dallas Museum of Art’s blockbuster King Tut exhibit “Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs” as part of a citywide celebration of ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean.

Featured in “From the Temple and the Tomb” are an entire temple pediment – the terracotta decoration for the front of an Etruscan temple – and objects from Etruscan tombs, including sarcophagi, ash urns, guardian figures, and gold, silver, bronze, ivory and ceramic objects that were deposited in the tombs of the wealthy. Also featured are several pieces of gold jewelry, created using techniques so advanced that they are difficult to reproduce today.

“From the Temple and the Tomb” is organized by the Meadows Museum in association with the Florence Archaeological Museum, Italy, the Italian Ministry of Culture, the Soprintendenza of Archaeology for Tuscany, and Centro Promozioni e Servizidi Arezzo. It was funded by a gift from The Meadows Foundation.

(Top right, gold diadem, late 4th century B.C., from Populonia. Bottom right, clay “canopic” urn with throne, 6th c. B.C. Florence, National Archaeological Museum.)