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  Antonio Canova

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Antonio Canova
 
 

Self-Portrait
1790
Oil on canvas, 68 x 55 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence
 
 
Antonio Canova, marchese d’Ischia, (born Nov. 1, 1757, Possagno, Republic of Venice—died Oct. 13, 1822, Venice), Italian sculptor, one of the greatest exponents of Neoclassicism. Among his works are the tombs of popes Clement XIV (1783–87) and Clement XIII (1787–92) and statues of Napoleon and of his sister Princess Borghese reclining as Venus Victrix. He was created a marquis for his part in retrieving works of art from Paris after Napoleon’s defeat.

Canova, the son of a stonemason who died in 1761, was reared by his grandfather, also a stonemason. Under the protection of a Venetian senator, Canova, at the age of 11, went to work with the sculptor Giuseppe Bernardi (called Torretti), who lived at Pagnano (Asolo). In the same year (1768) Bernardi moved his studio from provincial Pagnano to Venice, and Canova went with him. The boy helped his master, executed a few humble commissions on his own, and, as was customary at the time, studied classical art and drew from the nude.

In 1775 Canova set up his own studio in Venice. In 1779 he sculpted Daedalus and Icarus which had been commissioned by Pisani, procurator of the Venetian republic; it was Canova’s first important work. Somewhat Rococo in style, the figures were considered so realistic that the sculptor was accused of making plaster casts from live models.

Canova was in Rome in 1779 and 1780, where he met the leading artists of the period, including the Scottish painter-dealer Gavin Hamilton, who directed Canova’s studies toward a more profound understanding of the antique. Canova visited Naples and the ancient archaeological sites of Herculaneum, Pompeii, and Paestum. He returned briefly to Venice, but in 1781 he was again in Rome, where he was to spend most of the rest of his life. There he became an active and influential figure in the artistic life of the city and was always willing to help young artists and find them patrons.

In 1783 Canova received an important commission for the tomb of Pope Clement XIV in the Roman church of SS. Apostoli. When it was displayed in 1787, crowds flocked to see it. That same year he was commissioned to execute a tomb in St. Peter’s to Pope Clement XIII. Completed in 1792, it shows a more developed understanding of the classical aesthetic of antiquity than his monument to Clement XIV. Subsequent tombs were increasingly Neoclassical and combined restraint with sentiment, in a manner akin to the work of Canova’s English contemporary, John Flaxman.

Encyclopædia Britannica

 
 
 


Daedalus and Icarus
1777-79
Marble, 200 x 95 x 97 cm
Museo Correr, Venice
 





Daedalus and Icarus
1777-79
Marble, 200 x 95 x 97 cm
Museo Correr, Venice





The Penitent Magdalene
1796
Marble, height 94 cm
Palazzo Bianco, Genoa







The Penitent Magdalene








The Penitent Magdalene





Hercules and Lichas
1795-1815
Marble, height 335 cm
Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Rome

 
 
 
 

Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker
1803-06
Marble, height 326 cm
Wellington Museum, Apsley House, London





Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker
1803-09
Bronze, height 325 cm
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan





Bust of Napoleon Bonaparte
1803
Marble
Galleria dell'Arte Moderna, Palazzo Pitti, Florence







Bust of Napoleon Bonaparte





Letizia Ramolino Bonaparte
1804-07
Marble, height 145 cm
Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth





Napoleon I
1811
Bronze
Palazzo Brera, Milan


 

Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker
1803-06
Marble, height 326 cm
Wellington Museum, Apsley House, London







Theseus and the Centaur
1804-19
Marble, height 340 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna





Theseus and the Centaur (detail)
1804-19
Marble
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna





Paris
1816
Marble, height 205 cm
Neue Pinakothek, Munich

 
 
 
 


Theseus and the Minotaur
 
 
 
 

Theseus and the Minotaur
1781-83
Marble, 145,4 x 158,7 x 91,4 cm
Victoria and Albert Museum, London

 
 
 



Statue of George Washington at the North Carolina Museum of History
 
 
 
 


Jerome & Henrietta
 
 
 
 

Dancer
1812
Marble

 
 
 
 


Paris
 
 
 
 


The Genius of Death
 
 
 
 
 

Cain
Marble

 
 
 
 

Sappho
1819-1820




Sappho

 
 
 
 


Tomb of Pope Clement XIII
1792
Marble
Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican
 
 
 
 

Tomb of Pope Clement XIII
1792
Marble
Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican

 
 
 
 

Tomb of Pope Clement XIII (detail)
1792
Marble
Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican

 
 
 

 
 
 
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