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In the spring of 1820, on the Aegean island of Melos, an unsuspecting farmer was digging for marble building blocks when he unearthed the statue that would come to be known as the Venus de Milo. From the moment of its discovery a battle for possession ensued and was won, eventually, by the French. Touted by her keepers in the Louvre as the great classical find of the era, the sculpture gained instant celebrity–and yet its origins had yet to be documented or verified.

From the flurry of excitement surrounding her discovery, to the raging disputes over her authenticity, to the politics and personalities that have given rise to her mystique, Gregory Curtis has given us a riveting look at the embattled legacy of a beloved icon and a remarkable tribute to one of the world’s great works of art.

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