Lion vs. Horse: Getty Villa Brings Rare Sculpture to L.A.


If you want to see epic feats of physical prowess but need a break from the Olympics, come to the Getty Villa this weekend, where the dramatic “Lion Attacking a Horse” sculpture will be unveiled.

The piece will be making its first out-of-country appearance as part of “The Dream of Rome,” a project exhibiting works from Rome in the United States.  

During its tenure in Rome’s Capitoline Museums, the lion sculpture functioned as the center of an outdoor fountain in a garden that had been off-limits to visitors since 1925. To catch a glimpse of the epic sculpture, one had to either request special permission to enter the garden or gaze at the piece from the window of an adjacent building. The piece has so thoroughly eluded the public eye that even specialists in the field don’t know much about it. 

The item’s provenance and exclusivity should insure a strong reception, according to curator Claire Lyons. “People are always fascinated with antiquity, archaeological discoveries of works of art, and what they tell us about the ancient world,” she says. “It’s really a special opportunity to see something like this. Not everyone gets to go to Rome.”

The sculpture will be displayed in the atrium of the Getty Villa, the only space suitable for its large scale, until February 4, 2013.