- A Masterpiece from the Capitoline Museum, Rome: The Capitoline Venus
- June 8 – September 18, 2011
- West Building Main Floor, Rotunda
This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery.
Overview: The Capitoline Venus—on loan to the United States for the first time—is one of the best-preserved and most famous masterpieces from Roman antiquity. It derives from the celebrated Aphrodite of Cnidos, created by the renowned classical Greek sculptor Praxiteles around 360 BC. Unearthed in Rome in the 1670s, the Capitoline Venus was given in 1752 by Pope Benedict XIV to the Capitoline Museum—the first art museum in the world open to the general public—and was among the trophies that Napoleon Bonaparte seized after his invasion of Italy and took to Paris in 1797. The sculpture was returned in 1816 and quickly became a highlight for travelers in Europe, including Mark Twain, who was inspired to write the short story "The Capitoline Venus."
Organization: Organized by Roma Capitale, Sovraintendenza ai Beni Culturali–Musei Capitolini, and the National Gallery of Art, with the partnership of the Knights of Columbus and the Embassy of the Republic of Italy, Washington.
The exhibition is part of The Dream of Rome, a project initiated by the Mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, to exhibit timeless masterpieces in the United States from 2011 to 2013. It is also part of Italy@150, a series of events and activities around Washington and in the United States to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Italy's unification, under the high auspices of the President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano.