Ravenna's Classis opens two new permanent sections featuring ancient mosaics, some never before exhibited

Living and Praying in Ravenna: the Classis museum opens two new permanent sections with a rich selection of ancient mosaics, some for the first time on public display and restored for the occasion.

Ravenna’s Classis - Museum of the City and Territory opens two new exhibition sections in its permanent collection, Living and Praying in Ravenna. Two in-depth studies dedicated tolate-antique ecclesiastical building and residentialbuilding in the Roman and late Roman age. These aspects are told in the two new permanent sections through a rich selection of ancient mosaics, some for the first time on public display, restored for the occasion by the Restoration Laboratory of the RavennAntica Foundation, the entity that manages the museum.

This was made possible thanks to a grant from the Ministry of Culture-Strategic Plan "Major Cultural Heritage Projects. Programming residual resources 2022 and further. Annual Resources 2020, 2021 and 2022 - that the RavennAntica Foundation and the Municipality of Ravenna strongly wanted to give visibility to two important chapters in the history of the city and the territory and that was possible to use thanks to a special operating agreement with which the Regional Secretariat of the Ministry of Culture for Emilia-Romagna delegates to the RavennAntica Foundation the functions of contracting station regarding the intervention Archaeological Park of Classe - Restoration and Enhancement. The overall project was carried out with the cooperation and willingness of the Soprintendenza Archeologia Belle Arti e Paesaggio for the Provinces of Ravenna, Forlì-Cesena and Rimini; thanks are also due to the Emilia-Romagna Regional Museums Directorate.

“With the opening of the new sections,” said jointly Ravenna Mayor Michele de Pascale and Mosaic and Culture Councillor Fabio Sbaraglia, “Classis Ravenna cuts an important milestone in a journey that looks at the museum as a place of memory and a tool for the future. The setting up of spaces where to delve into the main housing typologies of the ancient world, where dwelling, worship, private life and public life constitute the antitheses of deep and stratified historical, social and cultural evolutions, is an opportunity to confront a past that offers keys to understanding contemporaneity. The presence of important mosaics, some not yet seen by the public, set up in a context capable of rendering the complexity of uses, historical function, iconographic construction and artistic values is firmly linked to the actions of valorization and revitalization of contemporary mosaics that underlie the Biennial of which this inauguration is the initial moment. Ravenna is a city of mosaic by very ancient tradition and by the living and pulsating strength that mosaic still possesses, and it is precisely in the interrupted dialogue between ancient and modern, in the unrelenting strength to preserve and innovate that lies the uniqueness of mosaic as experienced every day in the streets, workshops, private homes and cultural institutions of this city.”

“Classis Ravenna,” said RavennAntica President Giuseppe Sassatelli, “completes its initial exhibition project, which alongside the ’time line’ included a number of in-depth sections including the two now being inaugurated (Dwelling in Ravenna and Praying in Ravenna) dedicated to civil and religious architecture, with new materials displayed for the first time to the public. With the two new sections that welcome important mosaics also from the territory (Faenza), the Museum keeps faith with its setting of being, precisely, the museum of the city and the territory and of telling their stories, often intertwined and complementary. The ancient mosaic now acquires in the Classis Museum an exhibition centrality that is rightly finally present, not to pander to commonplaces and easy aesthetic approaches, but because of the extraordinary importance, both economic and cultural, that this artistic expression has in the history of the city. The opening of the new exhibition sections is a tangible sign of Classis’ vocation to be an intrinsically vital place where research, restoration, museum education and cultural tourism not only coexist, but give rise to new insights and experiences. At Classis we can touch with our own hands that Ravenna is the capital of ancient mosaics, and it is from these roots that projects and initiatives on contemporary mosaics also draw lifeblood, in a synergy between ancient and modern that will surely yield important results.”

This expansion, curated by Andrea Augenti, Fabrizio Corbara, Giovanna Montevecchi and Giuseppe Sassatelli, allows Classis Ravenna to relaunch itself strongly as a museum of the area: the archaeological artifacts and mosaics that will be on display come not only from some of the most famous excavations in the Ravenna area, such as that of the Basilica of San Severo in Classe, and from collections already known in the city, such as the Domus dei Tappeti di Pietra, but also from other sites, such as the mosaic found in the Domus of Via Dogana in Faenza. This connection is meant to testify to the RavennAntica Foundation’s desire to tell, through Classis, a story that goes beyond the borders of Ravenna, but embraces the entire community that benefited from the splendors of the era.

The archaeological finds and mosaics in the two new sections open the way to an immense heritage made up of new knowledge and awareness of the private and public life of the Ravenna community at the time of Ravenna Capital. Thanks to this important expansion, the existing exhibition holdings are enriched with scientific documentation especially related to ancient mosaics, around which the entire exhibition concept revolves. A precious archive of archaeological finds that, thanks precisely to this cultural project, have been the focus of an impressive restoration activity, carried out by RavennAntica’s Restoration Laboratory and which have also been the subject, in some cases, of the teaching activities of the single-cycle master’s degree course (LMCU) in Conservation and Restoration at the University of Bologna (Ravenna Campus).

Image: Classis Ravenna - Museum of the City and the Territory: Living in Ravenna, view of the exhibit.

Ravenna's Classis opens two new permanent sections featuring ancient mosaics, some never before exhibited
Ravenna's Classis opens two new permanent sections featuring ancient mosaics, some never before exhibited

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