Growing Up as a Child in Ancient Rome: First Exhibition of Its Kind Opens at Uffizi

Silvia Donati | Thu, 11/25/2021 - 00:00
Growing Up as a Child in Ancient Rome exhibition

What was it like growing up in ancient Rome? How was the life of children who lived 2,000 years ago?

The latest exhibition by the Uffizi Galleries in Florence tries to answer these questions. 

Titled “A misura di bambino. Crescere nell'antica Roma” ("Child-friendly. Growing up in ancient Rome”), the exhibition opened on November 23, just a few days after World Children’s Day.  

"The show is inaugurated close to World Children's Day, on November 20, which should not remain an empty celebration", said Uffizi director Eike Schmidt. "For the Uffizi, it is an occasion to approach an age group that is little considered artistically, both as an object and public. Art isn't just for adults and this show is proof, involving peers by crossing centuries of history”.

Indeed, the exhibit is conceived both for an adult audience and for children; frames and cartoons of some of the artworks on display are placed at a lower height, with taglines and captions thought for children. The event also includes guided visits devised especially for children aged 7-14 on set dates.

The exhibition aims to retrace the different aspects in the daily life of children in ancient Rome: birth, rites of passage to adulthood, school, play, the relationship with animals, and fears, by displaying more than 30 artworks, including statues, sarcophagi, reliefs and everyday objects such as toys. 

Among the most significant works on display are: a statue of Mercury with a small Bacchus, restored and made public after sitting in the Uffizi storage for decades; a rare ivory doll from the third century AD, which has never been exhibited before; a toy statue of a gladiator; and a particular type of funeral statues from the Hellenistic and Roman periods, never presented to the public before.

For more information, visit the Uffizi Galleries website

Note: in order to access museums in Italy, you need to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination, having recovered from Covid-19 or a negative Covid-19 test.

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