Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Statue Leaves Italy for the First Time Since 1816 for Exhibition at the National Gallery of Art

So-called “Capitoline Venus”, one of the best ...Capitoline Venus
One of the best preserved sculptures from Roman antiquity, the "Capitoline Venus," has left Italy for the first time in nearly 200 years for a special display at the National Gallery of Art.

The installation goes on public view Saturday through early September, the museum announced Thursday. The full-scale female nude statue has only left Rome one other time: when it was seized by Napoleon and taken to France in 1797. It was returned to Rome's Capitoline Museum in 1816 after Napoleon fell from power. Gallery Director Earl A. Powell III called it a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to see the piece in the United States. It will have a prime spot as a museum centerpiece for the busy summer months.

"The 'Venus' will feel right at home in our West Building Rotunda, which was designed by John Russell Pope and was based on the Pantheon in Rome," Powell said in a written statement.

The sculpture is a descendent from the "Aphrodite of Cnidos" by Greek sculptor Praxiteles around 360 B.C. That sculpture was groundbreaking in art history for its introduction of the large-scale nude female form as a subject.

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