The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has announced the addition of Neptune Virginia Beach Maquette by Richmond-based sculptor Paul DiPasquale to the E. Claiborne and Lora Robins Sculpture Garden, which was installed last Thursday.
This is the first piece by DiPasquale to enter VMFA’s collection and reflects the museum’s commitment to collecting and displaying the work of Virginia artists. DiPasquale is well known in the Commonwealth for public art commissions such as the Arthur Ashe statue on Monument Avenue in Richmond and Neptune Virginia Beach, a monumental 34-feet high sculpture in Virginia Beach, for which Neptune Virginia Beach Maquette served as the scale model.
The 7-foot tall version installed at VMFA was cast in bronze in 2004 and is a gift from Aubrey and Peggy Layne. Neptune Virginia Beach Maquette sits across from the museum’s main entrance, at the base of the Robins Sculpture Garden waterfall—a nod to the Roman god’s sovereignty over the sea.
“We’re delighted to have the sculpture of such a cherished Virginia statue go on public display in the Robins Sculpture Garden,” said VMFA Director Alex Nyerges. “By exhibiting the scale model for the finished work, we allow our visitors to understand DiPasquale’s artistic process and highlight the remarkable talent of artists who live and make their art in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
Neptune Virginia Beach was installed on the Virginia Beach boardwalk in 2005. The Virginia Beach Neptune Festival received fifty entries from their request for design proposals, but only one was from a Virginia artist—Paul DiPasquale, who ultimately received the commission. Since its installation, “King Neptune” as it is commonly known, has become a popular and beloved tourist attraction for visitors and residents of Virginia Beach.
“We are lucky to have VMFA, a world-class institution, right here in Richmond,” said Aubrey Layne, the Secretary of Finance for Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. “Peggy and I couldn’t imagine a better home for Neptune Virginia Beach Maquette than the Robins Sculpture Garden and are thrilled that this gift will continue to strengthen ties across the Commonwealth, from the capital city to Hampton Roads and beyond.”
“Before any sculptor creates a piece as massive as Neptune Virginia Beach, he must first create a scale model, as was the case with Neptune Virginia Beach Maquette,” said artist Paul DiPasquale. “The commitment to my vision that creating a maquette requires is no different than creating a much larger sculpture and often calls for more research and care. As a Richmond-based artist, it is an honor to have this piece represented in VMFA’s collection in a way that acknowledges the spirit and soul of the sculpture.”
The addition of Neptune Virginia Beach Maquette to the Robins Sculpture Garden follows the installation of Chloe in 2017, a 24-foot tall head of a young girl by the Spanish artist Jaume Plensa. Dale Chihuly’s Red Reeds was installed in 2012 in the Anne Cobb Gottwald Reflecting Pool and was the first site-specific outdoor installation by Chihuly to be acquired by an art museum.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for Neptune Virginia Beach Maquette will be held on December 11th at 6:15 PM.