Musée Maillol, Paris
September 18 – February 9, 2014
61 Rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris
+33 1 42 22 59 58

Generally believed to have originated in the East and shrouded in the mystery of an impenetrable language, the Etruscans were, before Rome, one of the Mediterranean’s great civilizations. Sailors and merchants, the Etruscans evolved in a context enriched through international trade and exchanges, notably with the Greeks, of whom they were both emulators and rivals.

This exhibition explores, in an unprecedented way, the daily life of the Etruscans. It tells the extraordinary adventure of a people that developed between the ninth and the second centuries BCE, in an area that today corresponds to the Italian peninsula. The image of the Etruscans is too often told only through stories associated with its funerary world. The discovery of many graves, especially during the nineteenth century, greatly emphasized this fundamental component and constituted archaeologists’ primary source. Thus we have tended, incorrectly, to detach them from the world of the living. It is precisely the different aspects of daily life of this happy and peaceful civilization that is highlighted in this exhibition, through the exploration of the great cities of this confederation: Veii, Cerveteri, Tarquinia and Orvieto. A total of 250 pieces are on display, including artefacts relating to religion, writing, weapons, painting and sculpture, craftsmanship in gold and silver, bronze and ceramics. The development of knowledge of their environment, fundamental to our understanding, is also expanded. We see a very distinctive architecture, far from classical canons, adorned with large terracotta decorations, accented with extremely vivid colours.