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Partnership commences with an exceptional exhibition of the Museo Archeologico's Etruscan masterpiece

The Chimaera of Arezzo

At the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa, July 16, 2009 - February 8, 2010

Additional special exhibitions are planned

March 23, 2009

LOS ANGELES/FLORENCE—Dr. Michael Brand, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum; the Honorable Sandro Bondi, Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali; Dr. Stefano De Caro, Direttore Generale per i Beni Archeologici, Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, Roma; and Dr. Fulvia Lo Schiavo, Soprintendente per i Beni Archeologici per la Toscana, announced today a long-term collaboration between the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Firenze and the J. Paul Getty Museum.

“We are delighted that our 2007 agreement with the Italian Ministry of Culture has opened new doors for the Getty Museum to collaborate with important cultural institutions throughout Italy,” said Michael Brand. “The Museo Archeologico in Florence contains one of the most important collections of Etruscan art in the world and this new partnership will bring several of its greatest treasures to Los Angeles for the first time.  They will become centerpieces of a series of special exhibitions.” Brand continued, “We hope that these initiatives are the first of many collaborations with the Museo Archeologico and its sister institutions throughout Italy, including Sicily.”

In conjunction with this announcement, Minister Bondi adds: “The partnership between the Getty Museum and the National Archaeological Museum of Florence is proof that cultural collaboration agreements continue to have positive results. In this way, cultural sites and masterpieces that are usually out of the spotlight, little known by the general public and, therefore, untouched by much tourism, gain enhanced value. The exhibit dedicated to the Chimaera di Arezzo is the first in a series of cultural projects with the Getty, in which the Italian government is beginning a path analogous with that completed with other U.S. museums. The collaboration with the Getty is certainly the most ambitious among these, as it foresees not only great exhibits but also the restoration of archaeological finds belonging to Italian heritage, as made clear by the Getty’s leadership to councilmen Angelo Crespi, Alain Elkann and Mario Resca while on a mission in the United States last January.”

The General Director of Archaeological Heritage, Stefano De Caro, and the Superintendent for Archaeological Heritage in Tuscany, Fulvia Lo Schiavo, issue the following statement: “As archaeologists, as well as managers of our Offices and Museums, we welcomed with great pleasure the new course of cultural relations with our colleagues in the United States. We are, therefore, very happy that this collaboration, started some time ago, is getting off the ground in such positive ways. The exhibit on the Chimaera is only the first in a series of initiatives of exhibits, studies and research that we intend to carry out with our colleagues at the Getty in order to enhance the value not only of our cultural heritage, but also to reinforce the feeling of friendship that arises from a new kind of exchange which is mindful of the respective needs of our institutes.”

As a result of the agreement with the Museo Archeologico, several projects are imminent: the special exhibition The Chimaera of Arezzo at the Getty Villa that opens in the summer of 2009; an exhibition that would include significant ancient bronze sculptures from the Museo Archeologico’s collection; and a large-scale exhibition devoted to the art of the Etruscans (brief descriptions of each of these projects follow).

The Chimaera of Arezzo

Inaugurating the partnership with the Museo Archeologico in Florence, this exhibition features a masterpiece of Etruscan bronzework known as the Chimaera of Arezzo: a “life-sized” sculpture of a triple-headed monster comprised of a lion, a fire-breathing goat, and a serpent. Interweaving archaeology, religion, technology, and conservation, the exhibition narrates the life and afterlife of an Etruscan icon.

Opening at the Getty Villa on July 16, 2009, The Chimaera of Arezzo explores the myth of Bellerophon and the Chimaera over six centuries of classical art. Dated to the early fourth century B.C., the Chimaera is the only surviving large-scale representation of this hybrid creature. This spectacular bronze will be displayed alongside antiquities from the Getty Museum’s collection, together with loans from museums in Rome, Naples, Basel, New York, Boston, and Atlanta, which situate the sculpture in its ancient Italian context. Materials from the Getty Museum’s Department of Manuscripts and the Research Library at the Getty Research Institute illustrate the legacy of the Chimaera myth in Medieval Christian imagery and its reception in the Renaissance. From its ancient dedication to the supreme Etruscan deity Tinia to its display in the collection of Cosimo I de' Medici, the Chimaera of Arezzo has endured as an emblem of the triumph of right over might.

Exhibition of Ancient Bronzes

In addition to the Chimaera exhibition, the Museo Archeologico will collaborate with the Getty Museum on the organization of an exhibition of bronze sculpture from the ancient world.  The exhibit would include significant Greek, Roman, and Etruscan works from the Museo Archeologico. The scheduling of this exhibition is yet to be determined.

Exhibition on the Etruscans

In collaboration with the Museo Archeologico, the Getty will organize a major exhibition devoted to the Etruscans, drawing on collections in Florence as well as other Italian and international lenders. As the central repository for important finds from archaeological sites in northern Etruria, the Museo Archeologico houses works of singular skill and beauty produced by a culture that dominated central Italy from the eighth century B.C. to the rise of the Roman Empire.  Bringing to bear the latest scholarship and the results of recent excavations, the exhibition will re-evaluate the place of Etruscan art in the wider context of the classical Mediterranean world.  

About the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Firenze

Established in 1870 in Florence, the Museo Archeologico hosts one of the most important collections of Etruscan art in the world. The Medici and Lorraine family collections of Etruscan and Roman art constitute the foundation of the museum, which was expanded in the first half of the 18th century with a section dedicated to Egyptian art, now the second largest collection of Egyptian artifacts in Italy. From 1880, the collection has been housed at Piazza Santissima Annunziata 1, in the Palazzo della Crocetta (formerly the hunting lodge of Lorenzo the Magnificent, which was renovated in 1620 by the architect Giulio Parigi for Princess Maria Maddalena de' Medici, the sister of Cosimo II).

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Julie Jaskol 
Getty Communications  

Rebecca Taylor
Getty Communications

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