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The Minneapolis Institute of Arts announced Tuesday it will...

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minneapolis Institute of Arts announced Tuesday it will buy a replica of the Doryphoros, a famous bronze scuplture by the Greek artist Polykleitos, for $2.5 million.

The life-sized statue of a nude spear-bearer is considered one of the most important classical sculptures in the country.

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All of Polykleitos' original sculptures were destroyed centuries ago except for a small scrap of a head.

Details in the carving suggest the statue may have been made by Apollonius of Athens, who worked in Greece and Italy about 70 B.C., experts said.

The institute is buying the statue from a Swiss art dealer based in Toronto. It will go on display in Minneapolis in late summer or early fall.

Alan Shestack, director of the museum, said the institute hopes to pay for the sculpture with private contributions. To date, four people have given $800,000 toward its purchase.

Michael Conforti, chief curator for the institute, said the dealer told the museum the sculpture was found off the coast of Italy in the 1930s and was in private hands until 1978, when it was loaned to a museum in Munich, West Germany.

The authenticity of the sculpture has never been questioned, Conforti said.

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'It really is the most important thing in the history of art,' Conforti said, adding it would 'upgrade by 10 times (the museum's) collection of ancient art.'

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