Officials at the famed Paris museum said the 2nd-century B.C. work was to be dismantled, hoisted onto rollers and wheeled to a closed cabin in another gallery for structural work and a meticulous cleaning to revive the original marble hues over the next nine months.
The 18-foot sculpture shows remains of the winged Greek goddess of victory, Nike, as she lands on a ship's bow atop a flat base.
The work's flowing garments, energized pose with right leg extended and outstretched wings point to an expert rendering in the high-quality Paros marble, which has yellowed with time.
The project began Tuesday.
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