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Italia • 1757−1822

The representative of classicism. Polished, immaculately clean white surface gives the statues of Canova for some abstractness and coldness, despite the subtle details and accurate anatomical structures of the body and drapery. This feeling of detachment is present even in the most sensual in their story the sculptor's works, such as Cupid and Psyche (1783-1793, Louvre). Canova created compositions on mythological subjects, portraits and tombstones. Among his works are: statue of Perseus (1801, Vatican museums, Museo PIO-Clementino), several portraits of Napoleon, portrait of George Washington in Roman armor, Paolina Borghese in the image of Venus (1805-1807, Rome, Museum of Rome), tombs of popes Clement XIII (1783-1792, Rome, St Peter's Church) and Clement XIV (1783-1787, Rome, the Church of Santi Apostoli).

Canova was born in 1 November 1757 in Possagno, near Treviso, and studied at the Venice sculptor John.Torretti. One of the most successful works of the early period of the master – marble sculptural group Daedalus and Icarus, executed in the then fashionable Rococo style. Then the sculptor went on to study ancient art in Rome and Naples, and from 1781 he settled permanently in Rome. Here he joined a group of artists and connoisseurs of ancient culture, whose work and research contributed to the emergence of a new artistic direction, based on the imitation of classical art of antiquity. The first work of Canova, executed in this style, later known as classicism – Theseus and the Minotaur (1781-1783, London, Victoria and albert Museum). It was followed by the tombstone of Pope Clement XIV, which brought the author fame and contributed to the adoption of the classical style in sculpture.


Customers Canova were popes, kings and wealthy collectors. From 1810 he held the post of Director of the Academy of St Luke in Rome. In the last years of his life the master has built its own Museum in Possagno, where he kept the plaster models of his sculptures. Canova died at Venice 13 October, 1822.

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