National Gallery Hosts Ancient Roman Sculpture

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The sculpture 'Dying Gaul,' an ancient Roman sculpture after it was unveiled at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC on Dec. 12. This exhibition marks the first time it has left Italy since 1797, when Napoleonic forces took the sculpture to Paris, where it was displayed at the Louvre until its return to Rome in 1816. (credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

The sculpture 'Dying Gaul,' an ancient Roman sculpture after it was unveiled at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC on Dec. 12. This exhibition marks the first time it has left Italy since 1797, when Napoleonic forces took the sculpture to Paris, where it was displayed at the Louvre until its return to Rome in 1816. (credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — An ancient Roman sculpture portraying a warrior just before his death is visiting Washington on its first trip outside of Italy in more than 200 years.

“The Dying Gaul” went on display Thursday at the National Gallery of Art and will be there through March 16. The sculpture dates to the first or second centuries A.D.

Gallery Director Earl A. Powell III says it is a masterpiece in art history. He says it’s an image of a conquered enemy, representing courage in defeat.

“The Dying Gaul” was found in a Roman garden, unearthed between 1621 and 1623. It became famous, and monarchs in Spain and France commissioned copies.

The sculpture is on loan from Rome’s Capitoline Museum as part of the Italian Embassy’s “Year of Italian Culture” in the U.S.

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(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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