Antonio Canova Neoclassical Artist
Italy has been, since antiquity, the centre of history, culture and art. Museums, collections and archaeological sites reveal countless tokens of the past and the many civilizations that have passed across this country, evidence of which is still inextricably woven into the present day landscape. The art of Italy is world renown as everyone knows but one artist, has a history not as well known but has made impressions on the world and his art is in many locations not just Italy.
Antonio Canova was an Italian sculptor from the republic of Venice who became famous for his marble sculptures that were delicate and intricate in the style of rendered nude flesh. Born in Possagno in the hillsides of the Venetian Alps, near the plains of Treviso, at the age of three was left parentless. His grandparents took up the responsibility of raising him with their tender loving care, after the death of his father and the remarrying of his mother. Antonio’s gentle and kind grandfather and grandmother became his caretakers, whom later in there lives he returned his loved for their kind ways by creating an asylum in his home in Rome. His grandfather and father were stone cutters and created small statuary. As soon as Canova’s Hand could hold a pencil, he was initiated into the principles of drawing and architecture. He designed well and showed considerable taste in the execution of ornamental works. He was attached to his art, at a young age and was looked as one who was to perpetuate, not only the family name but also the family profession. At the age of nine he created his first works and is still in existence. It is said he had studied under a number of profound masters. At the age of 13, he created his first master works, Eurydice in flames and smoke in the act of leaving Hades, this was completed towards the end of his sixteenth year. The piece was highly esteemed by his patron and friends and the artist was now considered qualified to appear before public tribunal. Later he was granted a vacant cell in a monastery, given to him by some charitable monks to be his first studio, workshop. He was an ardent and studied artist of anatomy, who often went to the theater to study the ways and forms of the human body. An intellect in more than just sculpture, he learned several languages, and also demonstrated his abilities of art in paintings. By the age of 24 his notoriety, and integrity for creating sculptures worthy of admiration and public tribunal where known throughout Europe. He was consigned by Napoleon, more than four times to create works of art for France. A particular statue Napoleon as Mars the peacemaker was gifted to the British government, but landed in the possession of the Duke of Wellington. Canova’s marble statue of Washington was commissioned by the state of North Carolina after the war of 1812 to be displayed in the Capitol building, these are only a few of his endless and interesting history and on the accounts of this works for famous and public demands, including the Vatican.
Some of his most notable works are the following: Napoleon: Apsley house London Persesus: with the head of Medusa Vatican Washington : Museum of history North Carolina USA Tomb of Clement XIII. Tomb of Clement XIV. Monument to Pius VI. Theseus Fighting the Centaur (1804–1819),Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. Pair of portrait busts by Canova, circa 1815. Pauline Bonaparte asVenus Victrix, now at theGalleria Borghese. Cenotaph to Maria Christina of Austria in the Augustinerkirche, by Canova. The Three Graces, Hermitage. Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss, in the Louvre, Paris Theseus and the Minotaur, V&A, London