Torino — Royal Museums Turin

Exhibition: the Scandalous and the Magnificent, 300 years of research on Industria and the cult of Isis in Piedmont

Turin celebrates the tricentennial of the Museum of Antiquities, formed in 1724, with a series of initiatives promoted by the Royal Museums to highlight the many souls the institution has had over its three centuries of existence

from Tuesday

04 June 2024

at 09:00

to Sunday

09 June 2024

at 19:00

Gagliardi da Brescia, writing to the poet Apostle Zeno, recalled how his friend Scipione Maffei, an important historian and playwright from Verona, was busy at that time “building a museum of inscriptions around the great courtyard” of theUniversity of Turin.

In the early stages of the Museum ‘s organization, artifacts from the excavation of Industria-a city reported by Pliny the Elder in the Naturalis Historia-began to play a key role, linked to the early investigations of Giuseppe Rivautella and Giovanni Ricolvi, who were soon incardinated atTurin University.

This is one of the reasons why the first exhibition-dossier of the tricentennial of the Museum of Antiquities was chosen to be dedicated to the excavation of Industria and the cult of Isis.

Focus on exposure

The exhibition, curated byarchaeologist Elisa Panero of the Royal Museums, in collaboration with theUniversity of Turin, offers a journey through the Roman city of Industria-Bodincomagus, an “alpine” center with strong cosmopolitan connotations, linking local, oriental cults and economic and cultural relations with theeastern Aegean.

The archaeological fortunes of the site have accompanied the history and events of the turin and house museum sabaudo, among the oldest attestations in Italy of the cult of Isis, referred to as “La Scandalosa e la Magnifica” in the 3rd-4th century ADhymn found at Nag Hammadi in Egypt and dedicated to the Eastern goddess.

The review moves steps from a fascination with theEast and for theEgypt nurtured by the Savoy since the Sixteenth century, through the exhibition of 75 items among statues, figurines and epigraphs, in bronze and in marble, with peculiar and evocative works such as theOsiris Chronokrator – Lord of Time – wrapped in the coils of the serpent Aion, dated to the first half of the second century A.D.-third century A.D., which arrived in dynastic collections in 1612.

Instead, it comes from the aforementioned archaeological area of Industry, now afferent to the Piedmont Regional Museums Directorate, and which is now in the municipality of Monteu da Po (TO), the very important series of bronzes, such as the Dancer, dated I-II century AD, found in the early19th century by Count Bernardino Morra of Lauriano, and the famous richly decorated bronze tripod, a valuable work dated to the mid-2nd century AD.

The peculiar sculptures dedicated to various deityIsis also depicted in the guise of Luck, Harpocrates, Apollo, Mitra, Heracles, Jupiter Ammon – the inscriptions and other bronze objects, such as the sistrum and the statuette of a priestess, allow us to delve into traditions, myths and various religions that refer to Eastern cults in line with the vocation cosmopolitan that the city of Industria must have had as early as its pre-Roman market phase on the Po.

Also present are materials ceramics from all over the Mediterranean, some exhibited for the first time, and epigraphs attesting to very old families of origin central-Italic, such as the Avilii, i Lolli, i Sertori and the Coccei, testifying to the vibrancy of the center located on the axis of the Po River, in the heart of the most important economic, social and political trades of the time.

A city sacred to the gods

Three centuries of stories, excavations and discoveries archaeology related to the Museum of Antiquities thus traces the physiognomy of a city “sacred to the gods” but much loved by men devoted to trade commercial and to the policy of theEmpire, about which much remains to be discovered: indeed, the concluding section is an opportunity to take stock of Industria‘surbanism, the interpretation of its monuments and the prospects for research.

The exhibition is part of the project Roman Marbles and Turin Biographies: ideas and materials for the enhancement of the epigraphic collections of the Museum of Antiquities of Turin, supported by Fondazione CRT.

The exhibition is accompanied by the short guide La Scandalosa e la Magnifica .300 Years of Research on Industria and the Cult of Isis in Piedmont, published in the series I Catalogues, dedicated by the Royal Museum s to the Museum of Antiquities.

Visible April 23, 2024 to November 10, 2024.

Organized by

Fondazione Matrice ETS


04 June 2024

at 09:00


09 June 2024

at 19:00

How to participate

Admission included in the regular ticket to the Royal Museums


€15.00 full

€12.00 reduced

€ 13.00 reduced participants in educational activities

Free according to admission regulations

Indirizzo: Musei Reali di Torino, Piazzetta Reale, Torino, TO, Italia

Royal Museums Turin

Musei Reali di Torino, Piazzetta Reale, Torino, TO, Italia
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Fondazione Matrice ETS

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