The Dying Gaul: An Ancient Roman Masterpiece From the Capitoline Museum, Rome

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Editorial Review


By Michael O’Sullivan
Friday, March 14, 2014

On view since December in the National Gallery of Art’s neoclassical Rotunda, “The Dying Gaul” is one of the world’s most famous sculptures. But you don’t have much longer to see the work (of ancient Roman origin, and never previously shown in the United States) before it returns home. On loan from Rome’s Capitoline Museum as part of a nationwide celebration of Italian culture, the larger--than--life--size marble rendering of a naked, mortally wounded man ---- previously thought to be a gladiator, but more likely a defeated soldier ---- is on view only through Sunday.

This unique opportunity is richly rewarding, not only for the subtly lifelike details of the work, which dates from the first or second century A.D., but also for its enduring message about our capacity, perhaps even our need, to empathize with the vanquished.

Dying Gaul on view at National Gallery of Art

The exhibition is part of a year-long cultural program organized by the Italian government.