Venus Makes A Rare Visit To D.C.'s National Gallery

One of the best preserved sculptures from Roman antiquity is about to make its Washington, D.C., debut. Host Scott Simon reports the Capitoline Venus will go on display next Wednesday at the National Gallery of Art.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

SCOTT SIMON, host:

Visitors to the nation's capital will soon have a lifetime chance to see one of the most precious artifacts of ancient Rome. The Capitoline Venus will go on display next Wednesday at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. She is over six feet tall and naked, covering herself with both lovely arms.

The renowned Greek artist Praxiteles sculpted cold, hard marble into what looks like warm flesh around 360 B.C. The Capitoline Venus has left Rome only once before, when Napoleon seized her in 1797 as part of the spoils of war and brought her to Paris.

She was returned to Rome in 1816 after Napoleon fell. Mark Twain saw the Capitoline Venus in Rome and wrote a short story bearing her name.

The Capitoline Venus will reside at the National Gallery until September, extending her arms to visitors from another century. Rome and Washington D.C. have signed an agreement to become Sister Cities. In return for the visit of the Capitoline Venus, Washington will send Rome more humidity.

You're listening to WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: