- Title: Priceless artefact found underwater is star of Croatian museum
- Date: 28th July 2017
- Summary: ***WARNING CONTAINS NUDITY*** VIEW OF STATUE THROUGH THE WINDOW TRACKING SHOT AROUND APOXYOMENOS STATUE ON DISPLAY INSIDE ITS ROOM
- Embargoed: 11th August 2017 16:02
- Keywords: Apoxyomenos Mali Losinj museum curator priceless artefact Adriatic
- Location: MALI LOSINJ, CROATIA
- City: MALI LOSINJ, CROATIA
- Country: Croatia
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVA0056RMTOOP
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A Croatian island in the northern Adriatic hosts a unique museum dedicated to only a single priceless artefact found in local waters.
The 300-kilogram ancient Greek bronze statue made in 2nd century BC depicts a young naked athlete scraping sweat and oil from his skin - a popular motif in antiquity called Apoxyomenos.
Possibly ordered from Greece by a wealthy Roman citizen in present-day northern Italy or Croatia, the statue is believed to have been dumped overboard sometime in the 1st century AD, a common practice at the time for trade ships threatened by bad weather and stormy seas.
Described by experts as the most valuable artwork in any of the country's museums, the statue was originally discovered by a Belgian tourist diving in the waters off the Coast of Losinj Island in 1996.
After it had been carefully raised in 1999, it underwent years of painstaking restoration before it was unveiled to the public.
The statue then toured museums of Europe before it found a permanent home in a modern purpose-built museum on the island dedicated solely to the remarkably preserved sculpture and the stories behind it.
Special rooms inside the museum are dedicated to explaining the significance of the statue, the slow and expensive restoration process, copious press clippings about the entire project, and even the paleobotanical collection of Mediterranean plants found within the statue, brought in by a mouse who had moved into the hollow artwork some two thousand years ago.
Since the opening of the museum, the Croatian Apoxyomenos - one of only a handful which survived to this day and the best preserved of its kind - has become an osymbol of the island.
The restaurants on the island - once known as a popular summer destination for Austrian nobility - now offer dishes inspired by antique cuisine, stalls sell souvenirs depicting the athletic statue, and even a smaller copy of the statue has been placed in a nearby underwater park where divers can experience what it's like to meet an ancient face in the blue waters of the Adriatic.
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