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Riace Bronzes celebrated on 50th anniversary of discovery

Unique art works symbol of Calabria says regional governor

(ANSA) - ROME, AUG 16 - The southern region of Calabria on Tuesday marked the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the two world-famous ancient Greek warrior statues called the Riace Bronzes on August 16, 1972.
    "They are unique works of art and a symbol of Calabria," said Calabrian Governor Roberto Occhiuto.
    A marathon of events embracing visual art, and cinema, among others, along with exhibits and debates and a dedicated website will fete Calabria's heritage until 2023 as part of the anniversary celebrations.
    The celebration, "with all the power of art history, heroes, warriors and legends," is called Bronzi50 1972-2022.
    The two statues, which recently became candidates to become part of UNESCO's heritage, with their perfection - whose origins and finding are still in part shrouded in mystery - have become a symbol of Magna Grecia (Greater Greece), Calabria and the Mediterranean.
    Events will have the objective first of promoting Calabria, from July to September and from October to December and over 2023 to make the region "travel" across Italy and the world.
    "The Riace Bronzes are an investment and a challenge for our country", Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said in Rome, during the presentation of celebrations.
    "They are a unique attraction, they must become a symbol of Italy".
    The events scheduled include Cubo Stage - an art installation of a cube with videos, as well as a virtual exhibit on Magna Grecia with audiovisual and augmented reality and the docufilm "I Bronzi di Riace", produced by Palomar and directed by Fabio Mollo.
    On Tuesday's anniversary of the discovery the two warriors with their helms, shields and spears, typical weapons of the mid-fifth century BC, were at the center of great celebrations: in Reggio Calabria, with an installation of video mapping on the façade of the archaeological museum (where the statues are kept) and on Corso Garibaldi, which has become a "set of excellence" during the summer.
    The entire schedule of initiatives dedicated to the Riace Bronzes and Magna Grecia is available on the website bronzi50.it (hashtag ufficiale #bronzi50).
    Regional authorities have allowed the famed bronzes to tour the country just once, in 1981, to sold-out venues in Rome, Venice, and Milan, a tour in which the statues were seen by over one million people overall.
    A drive to send them to Dubai for the 2020 Expo world's fair, which was held due to the COVID pandemic from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022, eventually failed.
    The bronzes had spent four years stuck in bureaucratic red tape awaiting restoration and were returned for public display at Reggio Calabria's national archeological museum in December 2013.
    Calabria has historically kept a tight grip on the much-loved statues since their discovery by a diver in 1972.
    The exceedingly rare bronzes stand two metres tall and are an exceptionally realistic rendering of warriors or gods.
    Both are naked, with silver lashes and teeth, copper red lips and nipples, and eyes made of ivory, limestone, and a glass and amber paste. (ANSA).


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