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(Mini) “Neptune” to reign in VMFA sculpture garden 

click to enlarge news49_neptune.jpg

Jessica Shea

"Neptune," a version of the statuary icon that has delighted visitors to the Virginia Beach boardwalk since 2005, will be permanently installed at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts on Dec. 11.

How can that be, considering the bronze piece is 34 feet high?

Well, works by Richmond artist Paul DiPasquale have a way of finding legs.

Consider "Connecticut," a 1983 work that once peered from the roof a Washington Best Products showroom. In 1987 it was installed at the Diamond where, for a quarter century, it served as a kind of mascot for the Richmond Braves baseball team. Now, it sits atop the Lucky Strike Building, home to Odell Architecture, on Tobacco Row in Shockoe Bottom.

And then there's "Headman," DiPasquale's 1987 tribute in fiberglass to African-American canal boatmen. It was stolen from its prominent site on Brown's Island and later found in Hanover County, badly damaged. It was recast in bronze and reinstalled in 1990.

Actually, the "Neptune" piece recently acquired by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is not the epic oceanfront work, but a smaller, bronze maquette. It will rise from a sculpture garden pool. Neptune, brother to Jupiter and Pluto, was the Roman god of the sea and fresh water and the patron of horse racing.

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