The Roman bust of Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus that made headlines last year for being a $35 Goodwill find with a regal past, will be returned to Germany after it concludes its display run at the San Antonio Museum of Art.
A spokesperson with the Texas art museum confirmed to Fox News Digital that Sunday, May 21, will be the last day visitors can see the historic marble statue.
The centuries-old sculpture, which is reportedly modeled after Germanicus, a Roman military commander and politician who died around 9 BC in Germania – European tribal lands that were situated around the Rhine River, Vistula River, Danube River, North Sea, Baltic Sea and more – will be returned to the Pompejanum Museum in Aschaffenburg, Germany.
Art historians believe the bust of Germanicus may have been crafted between 1 BC and 1 AD, according to the San Antonio Museum of Art.
Centuries after its estimated construction, the museum reports that art history experts were able to trace the statue back to King Ludwig I of Bavaria (Aug. 1786 to Feb. 1868), who had the bust installed in the courtyard of the Pompejanum – a Roman-style villa he commissioned and had built in the 1840s as a replica of Pompeii.
Today, the Pompejanum is a tourist attraction that welcomes visitors who pay admission fees set by the Bavarian Administration of State-Owned Palaces, Gardens and Lakes.
The San Antonio Museum of Art obtained the bust from Laura Young, a Texas-based art collector who reportedly purchased the bust from a Goodwill thrift store in Austin in 2018.
In a press release, the art museum noted that it’s currently not known how the bust ended up in Texas, but authenticators with the international auction house Sotheby’s and the Bavarian Administration of State-Owned Palaces, Gardens and Lakes, have confirmed the statue’s ties to Ludwig I.
The San Antonio Museum of Art told Fox News Digital that the marble bust of Germanicus had been purchased by Ludwig I through a “legitimate art market in Italy” and that very reason is why the statue will be returned to the Pompejanum in Aschaffenburg, Germany, instead of Rome.
“The German State was the last legal owner of the portrait, which was in the collection of the Bavarian King Ludwig I by 1833,” the museum wrote in an emailed statement.
Germany reportedly lost possession of the marble bust after World War II and art history experts suspect the statue may have been stolen by a soldier after Allied forces bombed Aschaffenburg in January 1944, which “seriously damaged the Pompejanum,” according to the San Antonio Museum of Art.
The museum reports that the bust could have been taken by someone in the U.S. Army between the 1940s and 1990s since the military branch had stations set up in Aschaffenburg until the end of the Cold War.
The Bavarian Administration of State-Owned Palaces, Gardens and Lakes restored the Pompejanum in 1960 and opened it to the public in 1994.
Visitors who wish to see the Germanicus bust before it’s sent back to Germany on May 21, can find it at the San Antonio Museum of Art at 200 West Jones Avenue from Tuesdays through Sundays.
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