Page last updated at 15:28 GMT, Thursday, 2 October 2008 16:28 UK

Solid gold Moss statue revealed

Marc Quinn with Siren, 2008
Marc Quinn said he wanted to sculpt the 'ideal beauty'

A 50kg solid gold statue of model Kate Moss has been unveiled at the British Museum, in London.

The 1.5m sculpture, entitled Siren, is by artist Marc Quinn and is one of several contemporary sculptures in the exhibition Statuephilia.

Each work has been sited in a different gallery within the museum, placed with items from its permanent collection.

Quinn's sculpture is said to be the largest gold statue created since the time of Ancient Egypt.

'Ideal beauty'

Described by the museum as an "Aphrodite of our times", it sits in the Museum's Nereid Gallery, alongside its statues of famous Greek beauties.

Quinn, whose most famous work was Alison Lapper Pregnant, has said of using Moss as a subject: "I thought the next thing to do would be to make a sculpture of the person who's the ideal beauty of the moment.

Marc Quinn with Siren, 2008
The museum hopes it will remind visitors of its diverse collection
"But even Kate Moss doesn't live up to the image."

Other artists in the exhibition include Damien Hirst and Antony Gormley.

Hirst has addressed his fascination with death by filling the historic wall cases of the Enlightenment Gallery with 200 specially created skulls.

Nine-metre wingspan

Gormley's Case for an Angel I will fills the entire front hall of the museum.

The work - a precursor to his celebrated public sculpture, Angel of the North - is raised high on a plinth. It boasts a nine-metre wingspan.

Ron Mueck's Mask II, a self-portrait of the artist sleeping, is in the heart of the Living and Dying: Wellcome Trust Gallery with the museum's monumental Maoi.

British Museum modern collections co-ordinator Philip Attwood said: "Perhaps because the British Museum is often celebrated as a museum of antiquities, it is not always realised that its collections also include a broad range of contemporary works from around the world."

Statuephilia: Contemporary Sculptors at the British Museum is open to the public from Saturday until 25 January.

Art appeal

Meanwhile, The National Portrait Gallery has launched a public appeal to raise 200,000 for Marc Quinn's self-portrait head cast made from frozen blood.

The gallery wants to buy the fourth head in a series, made in 2006, which is being sold by London's White Cube gallery for 350,000.

The Art Fund has offered a 100,000 grant and the National Portrait Gallery has found 50,000 from its own resources, leaving it to raise the remainder by December 31.

Quinn has made a new cast, using eight or nine pints of his own blood, every five years to document his ageing since 1991.


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