Ancient Statue’s Second Trip Out of Italy Is to D.C.

Rob Shelley (c) 2001 Board of Trustees, National Gallery of Art

One of the best preserved sculptures from Roman antiquity, the “Capitoline Venus,” has left Italy for the first time in almost 200 years for a special display at the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

The installation announced Thursday goes on public view Saturday and continues through early September. 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.

Gallery Director Earl A. Powell III said this is a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to see the piece in the United States. It will be displayed in the museum's rotunda.

It is a descendent from the “Aphrodite of Cnidos” by Greek sculptor Praxiteles around 360 B.C. It was unearthed in the 1670s.

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