Sunday 18 December, at 16.30, at the Civic Museum of Modena, opens “DeVoti Etruschi”, the exhibition set up in the Archeology room in collaboration with Sapienza University of Rome which exhibits over one hundred votive terracottas from the Etruscan city of Veii. The ex-voto is a gift with a strong symbolic value, which has accompanied the relationship with the entities to which the ability to change fate is attributed for millennia. It is an anthropological practice suspended between religion and superstition and intercepts archeology, ethnology, popular and contemporary art.

The votive terracottas on display mainly represent figures of devotees, statues, busts and faces of adults and children but also anatomical parts, limbs and organs as well as representations of animals with which the prosperity of domestic livestock was requested. The terracottas come from an immense votive deposit also known as “Stipe Lanciani”, brought to light in 1889 and still being studied (by the department of Etruscology and Italic antiquities of Sapienza), a deposit referable to a possible sacred area located on the hill di Comunità, at the highest point of the Veii plateau, an important and assiduously frequented place of worship for a long time, between the beginning of the fifth and the middle of the second century BC, even after the conquest of the city by Rome .

The inauguration was attended by the Councilor for Culture of the Municipality of Modena Andrea Bortolamasi, the director of the Civic Museum Francesca Piccinini, Laura Michetti, of Sapienza University of Rome, and Cristiana Zanasi of the Civic Museum, curators of the exhibition.

The exhibition is introduced by a video made between the Veio Archaeological Park and the Etru Museum of Villa Giulia, which gives an account of the context from which the finds come, and is accompanied by a video installation (made by Delumen) which brings the faces back to life of the bidders, the devout Etruscans, represented by over fifty heads and a large statue who observe the visitor from a framed panel in the cast of the portal of the Nonantola abbey (exhibited in the room), as if to evoke a place full of spirituality and at the same time the function of receiving ex voto that the churches still exercise. The projection restores their original colors to the votive heads, starting from the specimens on which traces of polychromy are preserved, and gives all the faces the appearance they must have had at the time of the deposition. The suggestion is strengthened by a sound installation that recalls with soft whispers the dedications addressed to the divinities in Etruscan and Latin.

The exhibition will be open until December 2023, with free admission, from Tuesday to Friday from 9 to 12; Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 10 to 19. Two guided tours are scheduled on Saturday 7 and Sunday 22 January, at 4 pm, by reservation (tel. 059 203 3100/3125; museocivico@comune.modena.it; www.museocivicomodena.it).

The exhibition is accompanied by a proposal for schools and a calendar of initiatives aimed at different types of public, from meetings with experts to workshops for children and families. It starts with an exceptional guest, Jacopo Tabolli of the University for Foreigners of Siena, who on February 28 will present the votive context of San Casciano dei Bagni, recently made headlines with the extraordinary discovery of statues of devotees and ex- bronze vote.

The exhibition is accompanied by a scientific catalog edited by Cristiana Zanasi, Laura Maria Michetti and Carla Tulini, Insegna del Giglio editions, on sale at the Palazzo dei Musei Infopoint