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'Lion Attacking a Horse' Sculpture's Getty Villa Stay Extended

Created in the era of Alexander the Great, Lion Attacking a Horse was a trophy of war in imperial Rome before it became a symbol of justice in the medieval city.

The Getty Museum announced Monday that the monumental sculpture Lion Attacking a Horse, on loan from the Capitoline Museums in Rome, will be on extended view at the Getty Villa until May 6, 2013. Presented for the first time outside Rome, where it has not been on public view since 1925, the sculpture is the centerpiece of a special installation that traces its history from antiquity to the modern era and showcases recent conservation work undertaken in Rome.

“We are thrilled to have the celebrated Lion Attacking a Horse on view for an additional three months,” says Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “This ancient masterpiece is one of the most storied sculptures to have survived from antiquity and is a dramatic addition to the Villa’s galleries as the first work of art visitors see when entering the Museum. We are grateful to our colleagues at the Capitoline Museums for agreeing to extend the loan period.”

Created in the era of Alexander the Great, Lion Attacking a Horse was a trophy of war in imperial Rome before it became a symbol of justice in the medieval city.

The sculpture’s image of savage animal combat was admired by Michelangelo and inspired generations of artists. On the Capitoline Hill, its presence heralded the Renaissance spirit, laying the foundation for the world's first public art collection. For many years, the lion-and-horse image served as the emblem of Rome before being replaced by the famous statue of a she-wolf suckling the twins Romulus and Remus.

Part of “The Dream of Rome,” a project initiated by the Mayor of Rome Giovanni Alemanno to exhibit timeless masterpieces from the city of Rome in the United States, the installation also includes related works from the Getty Museum and Getty Research Institute’s collections, as well as from private lenders.

In August 2012, the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Capitoline Superintendency of Roma Capitale signed a bilateral agreement for cultural collaboration that established a general framework for cooperation on conservation and restoration projects, exhibitions, long-term loans, conferences, publications, and other kinds of cultural exchange. Lion Attacking a Horse is the first major loan to arise from this agreement.

Other cultural partnerships between the Getty Museum and Italian institutions include the Sicilian Ministry of Culture and Sicilian Identity and the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Florence, which will result in a number of exhibitions and cultural exchanges over the coming years.

Lion Attacking a Horse from the Capitoline Museums, Rome is co-organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Sovraintendenza ai Beni Culturali di Roma Capitale—Musei Capitolini. The special installation at the Getty Villa was realized with the generous support of the Knights of Columbus and the Getty Museum’s Villa Council. The sculpture will return to Rome after its exhibition at the Getty Villa, where it will be placed on display among other masterpieces of classical sculpture at the Capitoline Museums.

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