Exhibition: «Dionysos-Baco. A God for humans »at the National Museum of Roman Art

Exhibition: «Dionysos-Baco. A God for humans »at the National Museum of Roman Art

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The National Museum of Roman Art presents the exposition "Dionysos-Bacchus. A God for humans ». An exhibition, curated by Trinidad Nogales, director of the museum, which aims to publicize an exciting phenomenon that ran from Classical Greece to the Roman Empire and that united, in a kind of common manifestation, people from very distant places.

More than 40 objects are exhibited among them, Greek ceramics from the National Archaeological Museum or the exceptional set of paintings from the Casa del Mitreo, exhibited for the first time fully restored, gives us an idea of ​​the familiarity of the mythological cycle of Dionysos-Baco for the people of Mérida. High quality paintings that highlight the importance of the myth.

The exhibition account It has been structured in different thematic blocks. Dionysos, god of greek origin, will be for the Romans Bacchus. Both of them, Dionysos-Bacchus, are closely linked to the theater from its origins, in the 6th century BC, to the Roman period. This relationship is reflected in the theatrical works, the common thread of our Mérida festival.

The tour begins at ROOM V of the ground floor dedicated to official services. After entering the room, we found several works of Greek Attic ceramics, loaned by the National Archaeological Museum for this sample, vessels with Dionysian themes in their decoration, they began the exhibition discourse, because not in vain were they pieces used in banquets, symposium. Unique objects that take us back to the 5th and 4th centuries BC, where humans venerated Dionysos in their public and private encounters.

The myth of Dionysos-Bacchus It appears frequently in Greek and Roman representations, since its life cycles and the characters that accompany it are typical of the theatrical cycle, the party and the collective celebration, in addition to embodying the freer aspect of being, in front of the established order.

Measure at the symposium
Eubulus (comic from the 4th century BC) transmitted by Athenaeus, puts in the mouth of Dionysos:

Only three craters I mix
for those who are prudent: the one, of
health, the one that rush first. The second,
of love and pleasure. The third of dream,
that when the wise guests rush it
they are coming back home. The fourth no longer
it is ours, but of insolence. The fifth of
shouting; the sixth, of the dances in the street; the seventh,
of the eyes
the eighth, of the bailiffs; the ninth, of the
anger; the tenth of madness, which also makes you fall.

Already in the room proper, on the left, is the mosaic of Bacchus and Ariadne, depicting their love affair on the island of Naxos. One of the traits of Dionysos-Bacchus is his intense relationship with men and women, his followers.

Loves and marries Ariadna, mortal woman. In Augusta Emerita this theme appears represented in different supports, highlighting the following mosaic, made by the workshop of Annius Bonus, in it the encounter is narrated. In turn, this mosaic shows a domestic piece from the end of the 4th century AD. early 5th century AD C. as the culmination of the pagan cycles before a new Christian world.

In the daily life of Roman society the God Bacchus was also present, as we can see in the set of pieces that dot the room. The well curb -puteal- with the figures of Bacchus and Ariadne, skylights, terracotta and bronze objects such as the openwork decorated peephole with a scene of Bacchic aunt.

There are also objects of daily life, lamps, terracotta and small bronzes, which come from domestic environments, where the god lived with the inhabitants of the house. Along with these simple works, other glass exclusives give an idea of ​​the luxury that the banquets possessed as part of these rites of Bacchus.

The cult as the god of the party and the presence in the theaters will be the protagonists with pieces such as the fragment of Silenus, kept in the museum's warehouse. The world of theater is also very present with the relief of the dancing maenad, from the theater of Mérida, in which one of those orgiastic courtships and dances that accompanied Bacchus in Roman society is staged. Pieces from the Mérida collection, domestic, funerary and sumptuary with the Bacchus motif in its different vital passages.

In the ROOM VII the restitution of the paintings of the Casa del Mitreo is the protagonist. At the back of the room the restitution is located, which after the documentation, research and restoration work, in this the exhibition will present and expose the proposal for the reconstruction of the figures, in which it has been included in the restoration to facilitate understanding of the different scenes.

In some cases, this reconstruction has been possible based on the position of the figure or the activity it carries out. In others, however, has been the identification of the characters through their iconographic attributes which has made it possible to complete the figures and scenes by comparing them with other similar representations.

It was during the excavations carried out in 1967 by Eugenio García Sandoval in the Casa del Mitreo when they were found in the cistern, a large number of fragments of painted plaster. The preserved fragments are only a small part of the painted plaster that covered the walls of the room, and only through a detailed study has it been possible to propose the reconstruction of the compositional system of the pictorial decoration.

Paintings with Bacchic themes and cycles, which reveal this symbol in domestic settings dedicated to the pleasure of meeting and banquet. This pictorial ensemble, one of the best and most unique in the Iberian Peninsula, is presented in this exhibition for the first time.

Dionysos-Baco both in his most youthful and old version, in his Greek or Roman image, always shows us a being with multiple facets, a god for humans. He will accompany our visitors and will reveal to them, with the eloquent images of our collections, new visions of that mythological universe of the classical world.

From June to December 2019

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