Antonio Canova

Antonio Canova (Italian pronunciation: [anˈtɔːnjo kaˈnɔːva]; 1 November 1757 – 13 October 1822) was an Italian Neoclassical sculptor,[3][4] famous for his marble sculptures. Often regarded as the greatest of the Neoclassical artists,[5] his artwork was inspired by the Baroque and the classical revival, but avoided the melodramatics of the former, and the cold artificiality of the latter.[6]

Antonio Canova
Antonio Canova Selfportrait 1792
Self-portrait, 1792
Antonio Canova

1 November 1757
Died13 October 1822 (aged 64)
NationalityVenetian (before fall)
Austrian (territory ceded to Austria)[1]
Known forSculpture
Notable work
Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss,
The Three Graces,
Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker,
Venus Victrix



In 1757, Antonio Canova was born in the Venetian Republic city of Possagno to Pietro Canova, a stonecutter.[2] In 1761, his father died. A year later, his mother remarried. As such, in 1762, he was put into the care of his paternal grandfather Pasino Canova, who was a stonemason, owner of a quarry,[6] and was a "sculptor who specialized in altars with statues and low reliefs in late Baroque style".[2] He led Antonio into the art of sculpting.

Before the age of ten, Canova began making models in clay, and carving marble.[7] Indeed, at the age of nine, he executed two small shrines of Carrara marble, which are still extant.[8] After these works, he appears to have been constantly employed under his grandfather.[8]


Antonio canova, orfeo, 1777, 01
Orpheus, (1777)

In 1770,[2] he was an apprentice for two years[7] to Giuseppe Bernardi, who was also known as 'Torretto'. Afterwards, he was under the tutelage of Giovanni Ferrari until he began his studies at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia.[2] At the Academy, he won several prizes.[8] During this time, he was given his first workshop within a monastery by some local monks.[7]

The Senator Giovanni Falier commissioned Canova to produce statues of Orpheus and Eurydice for his garden – the Villa Falier at Asolo.[9] The statues were begun in 1775, and both were completed by 1777. The pieces exemplify the late Rococo style.[9][10] On the year of its completion, both works were exhibited for the Feast of the Ascension in Piazza S. Marco.[6] Widely praised, the works won Canova his first renown among the Venetian elite.[2] Another Venetian who is said to have commissioned early works from Canova was the abate Filippo Farsetti, whose collection at Ca' Farsetti on the Grand Canal he frequented.

In 1779, Canova opened his own studio at Calle Del Traghetto at S. Maurizio,.[6] At this time, Procurator Pietro Vettor Pisani commissioned Canova's first marble statue: a depiction of Daedalus and Icarus.[6] The statue inspired great admiration for his work at the annual art fair;[11] Canova was paid for 100 gold zecchini for the completed work.[6] At the base of the statue, Daedalus' tools are scattered about; these tools are also an allusion to Sculpture, of which the statue is a personification.[12] With such an intention, there is suggestion that Daedalus is a portrait of Canova's grandfather Pasino.[11]


Canova arrived in Rome, on 28 December 1780.[8] Prior to his departure, his friends had applied to the Venetian senate for a pension.[8] Successful in the application, the stipend allotted amounted to three hundred ducats, limited to three years.[8]

While in Rome, Canova spent time studying and sketching the works of Michelangelo.[2]

Canova - Theseus & Minotaur
Theseus and the Minotaur, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

In 1781, Girolamo Zulian – the Venetian ambassador to Rome – hired Canova to sculpt Theseus and the Minotaur.[13] The statue depicts the victorious Theseus seated on the lifeless body of a Minotaur. The initial spectators were certain that the work was a copy of a Greek original, and were shocked to learn it was a contemporary work.[14] The highly regarded work is now in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, in London.[13]

Between 1783 – 1785, Canova arranged, composed, and designed a funerary monument dedicated to Clement XIV for the Church of Santi Apostoli.[7] After another two years, the work met completion in 1787.[8] The monument secured Canova's reputation as the pre-eminent living artist.[8]

In 1792, he completed another cenotaph, this time commemorating Clement XIII for St. Peter's Basilica. Canova harmonized its design with the older Baroque funerary monuments in the basilica.[15]

In 1790, he began to work on a funerary monument for Titian, which was eventually abandoned by 1795.[2] During the same year, he increased his activity as a painter.[6]

The following decade was extremely productive,[8] beginning works such as Hercules and Lichas, Cupid and Psyche, Hebe, Tomb of Duchess Maria Christina of Saxony-Teschen, and The Penitent Magdalene.[16]

In 1797, he went to Vienna,[17] but only a year later, in 1798, he returned to Possagno for a year.[8][notes 1]

France and England

By 1800, Canova was the most celebrated artist in Europe.[2] He systematically promoted his reputation by publishing engravings of his works and having marble versions of plaster casts made in his workshop.[18] He became so successful that he had acquired patrons from across Europe including France, England, Russia, Poland, Austria and Holland, as well as several members from different royal lineages, and prominent individuals.[6] Among his patrons were Napoleon and his family, for whom Canova produced much work, including several depictions between 1803 and 1809.[5] The most notable representations were that of Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker, and Venus Victrix which was portrayal of Pauline Bonaparte.

Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker had its inception after Canova was hired to make a bust of Napoleon in 1802. The statue was begun in 1803, with Napoleon requesting to be shown in a French General's uniform, Canova rejected this, insisting on an allusion to Mars, the Roman god of War.[19] It was completed in 1806.[20] In 1811, the statue arrived in Paris, but not installed; neither was its bronze copy in the Foro Napoleonico in Milan.[19] In 1815, the original went to the Duke of Wellington, after his victory at Waterloo against Napoleon.[20]

If one could make statues by caressing marble, I would say that this statue was formed by wearing out the marble that surrounded it with caresses and kiss
— Joséphine de Beauharnais on the Venus Victrix[2]

Venus Victrix was originally conceived as a robed and recumbent sculpture of Pauline Borghese in the guise of Diana. Instead, Pauline ordered Canova to make the statue a nude Venus.[21] The work was not intended for public viewing.[21]

Other works for the Napoleon family include, a bust of Napoleon, a statue of Napoleon's mother, and Marie Louise as Concordia.[7]

In 1802, Canova was assigned the post of 'Inspector-General of Antiquities and Fine Art of the Papal State', a position formerly held by Raphael.[6] One of his activities in this capacity was to pioneer the restoration of the Appian Way by restoring the tomb of Servilius Quartus.[22] In 1808 Canova became an associated member of the Royal Institute of the Netherlands.[23]

In 1814, he began his The Three Graces.[7]

In 1815, he was named 'Minister Plenipotentiary of the Pope,'[6] and was tasked with recovering various works of art that were taken to Paris by Napoleon.[8]

The works of Phidias are truly flesh and blood, like beautiful nature itself
— Antonio Canova[6]

Also in 1815, he visited London, and met with Benjamin Haydon. It was after the advice of Canova that the Elgin marbles were acquired by the British Museum, with plaster copies sent to Florence, according to Canova's request.[8]

Returning to Italy

In 1816, Canova returned to Rome with some of the art Napoleon had taken. He was rewarded with several marks of distinction: he was appointed President of the Accademia di San Luca, inscribed into the "Golden Book of Roman Nobles" by the Pope's own hands,[7] and given the title of Marquis of Ischia, alongside an annual pension of 3000 crowns.[8]

In 1819, he commenced and completed his commissioned work Venus Italica as a replacement for the Venus de' Medici.[24]

After his 1814 proposal to build a personified statue of Religion for St. Peter's Basilica was rejected, Canova sought to build his own temple to house it.[2] This project came to be the Tempio Canoviano. Canova designed, financed, and partly built the structure himself.[6] The structure was to be a testament to Canova's piety.[18] The building's design was inspired by combining the Parthenon and the Pantheon together.[6][7] On 11 July 1819, Canova laid the foundation stone dressed in red Papal uniform and decorated with all his medals.[18] It first opened in 1830, and was finally completed in 1836.[18] After the foundation-stone of this edifice had been laid, Canova returned to Rome; but every succeeding autumn he continued to visit Possagno to direct the workmen and encourage them with rewards.[8]

During the period that intervened between commencing operations at Possagno and his death, he executed or finished some of his most striking works. Among these were the group Mars and Venus, the colossal figure of Pius VI, the Pietà, the St John, and a colossal bust of his friend, the Count Cicognara.[8]

George Washington, plaster replica on display at the North Carolina Museum of History

In 1820, he made a statue of George Washington for the state of North Carolina.[17] As recommended by Thomas Jefferson, the sculptor used the marble bust of Washington by Giuseppe Ceracchi as a model.[25] It was delivered on December 24, 1821. The statue and the North Carolina State House where it was displayed were later destroyed by fire in 1831. A plaster replica was sent by the king of Italy in 1910, now on view at the North Carolina Museum of History. A marble copy was sculpted by Romano Vio in 1970, now on view in the rotunda of the capitol building.[25][26]

In 1822, he journeyed to Naples, to superintend the construction of wax moulds for an equestrian statue of Ferdinand VII. The adventure was disastrous to his health, but soon became healthy enough to return to Rome. From there, he voyaged to Venice; however, on 13 October 1822, he died there at the age of 64.[8] As he never married, the name became extinct, except through his stepbrothers' lineage of Satori-Canova.[7]

On 12 October 1822, Canova instructed his brother to use his entire estate to complete the Tempio in Possagno.[18]

On 25 October 1822, his body was placed in the Tempio Canoviano.[8] His heart was interred at the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice, and his right hand preserved in a vase at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia.[2][8][18]

His memorial service was so grand that it rivaled the ceremony that the city of Florence held for Michelangelo in 1564.[18]

In 1826, Giovanni Battista Sartori sold Canova's Roman studio and took every plaster model and sculpture to Possagno, where they were installed in the Tempio Canoviano.[18]


Among Canova's most notable works are:

Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss (1787)

Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss was commissioned in 1787 by Colonel John Campbell.[27] It is regarded as a masterpiece of Neoclassical sculpture, but shows the mythological lovers at a moment of great emotion, characteristic of the emerging movement of Romanticism. It represents the god Cupid in the height of love and tenderness, immediately after awakening the lifeless Psyche with a kiss.

Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker (1802–1806)

Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker had its inception after Canova was hired to make a bust of Napoleon in 1802. The statue was begun in 1803, with Napoleon requesting to be shown in a French General's uniform, Canova rejected this, insisting on an allusion to Mars, the Roman god of War.[19] It was completed in 1806.[20] In 1811, the statue arrived in Paris, but not installed; neither was its bronze copy in the Foro Napoleonico in Milan.[19] In 1815, the original went to the Duke of Wellington, after his victory at Waterloo against Napoleon.[20]

Perseus Triumphant (1804–1806)

Canova - perseu - 39b
Detail of Perseus with the Head of Medusa

Perseus Triumphant, sometimes called Perseus with the Head of Medusa, was a statue commissioned by tribune Onorato Duveyriez.[28] It depicts the Greek hero Perseus after his victory over the Gorgon Medusa.

The statue was based freely to the Apollo Belvedere and the Medusa Rondanini.[29]

Napoleon, after his 1796 Italian Campaign, took the Apollo Belvedere to Paris. In the statue's absence, Pope Pius VII acquired Canova's Perseus Triumphant and placed the work upon the Apollo's pedestal.[30] The statue was so successful that when the Apollo was returned, Perseus remained as a companion piece.[31]

One replica of the statue was purchased from Canova by the Polish countess Valeria Tarnowska; it now resides in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.[29][32]

Karl Ludwig Fernow said of the statue that "every eye must rest with pleasure on the beautiful surface, even when the mind finds its hopes of high and pure enjoyment disappointed."[33]

Venus Victrix (1805–1808)

Venus Victrix ranks among the most famous of Canova's works. Originally, Canova wished the depictation to be of a robed Diana, but Pauline Borghese insisted to appear as a nude Venus.[21] The work was not intended for public viewing.[21]

The Three Graces (1814–1817)

John Russell, the 6th Duke of Bedford, commissioned a version of the now famous work.[34] He had previously visited Canova in his studio in Rome in 1814 and had been immensely impressed by a carving of the Graces the sculptor had made for the Empress Josephine. When the Empress died in May of the same year he immediately offered to purchase the completed piece, but was unsuccessful as Josephine’s son Eugène claimed it (his son Maximilian brought it to St. Petersburg, where it can now be found in the Hermitage Museum). Undeterred, the Duke commissioned another version for himself.

The sculpting process began in 1814 and was completed in 1817. Finally in 1819 it was installed at the Duke’s residence in Woburn Abbey. Canova even made the trip over to England to supervise its installation, choosing for it to be displayed on a pedestal adapted from a marble plinth with a rotating top. This version is now owned jointly by the Victoria and Albert Museum and the National Galleries of Scotland, and is alternately displayed at each.

Artistic process

Canova's system of work concentrated on the initial idea, and on the final carving of the marble[2]

Canova's sculptures fall into three categories: Heroic compositions, compositions of grace, and sepulchral monuments.[8] In each of these, Canova's underlying artistic motivations were to challenge, if not compete, with classical statues.[6]

Canova refused to take in pupils and students,[2] but would hire workers to carve the initial figure from the marble. He had an elaborate system of comparative pointing so that the workers were able to reproduce the plaster form in the selected block of marble.[33] These workers would leave a thin veil over the entire statue so Canova's could focus on the surface of the statue.[33]

While he worked, he had people read to him select literary and historical texts.[2]

Last touch

The polish throws upon the parts which are lighted so great brilliancy as frequently to make invisible the most laborious diligence; it cannot be seen, because the strong reflected light dazzles the eyes
— Johann Joachim Winckelmann[33]

During the last quarter of the eighteenth century, it became fashionable to view art galleries at night by torchlight. Canova was an artist that leapt on the fad and displayed his works of art in his studio by candlelight.[18] As such, Canova would begin to finalize the statue with special tools by candlelight,[2] to soften the transitions between the various parts of the nude.[33] After a little recarving, he began to rub the statue down with pumice stone, sometimes for periods longer than weeks or months.[33] If that was not enough, he would use tripoli (rottenstone) and lead.[33]

He then applied a now unknown chemical-composition of patina onto the flesh of the figure to lighten the skin tone.[2] Importantly, his friends also denied any usage of acids in his process.[7]


Conversations revolving around the justification of art as superfluous usually invoked the name of Canova.[18]

Karl Ludwig Fernow believed that Canova was not Kantian enough in his aesthetic, because emphasis seemed to have been placed on agreeableness rather than Beauty.[33]

Canova was also faulted for creating works that were artificial in complexity.[6]


Asolo-Museum Canoviano
The Museo Canoviano located in Possagno near Asolo
The importance and value of Canova's art is now recognized as holding in balance the last echo of the Ancients and the first symptom of the restless experimentation of the modern age[2]

Canova spent large parts of his fortune helping young students and sending patrons to struggling sculptors,[17] including Sir Richard Westmacott and John Gibson.[35][36]

He was introduced into various orders of chivalry.[7]

The Romantic period artists buried Canova's name soon after he died, but he is slowly being rediscovered.[2]

A number of his works, sketches, and writings are collected in the Sala Canoviana of the Museo Civico of Bassano del Grappa. Other works, including plaster casts are the Museo Canoviano in Asolo.

Literary Inspirations

Two of Canova's works appear as engravings in Fisher's Drawing Room Scrap Book, 1834, with poetical illustrations by Letitia Elizabeth Landon. These are of The Dancing Girl and Hebe.



Antonio Canova from the studio if Canova c.1813

Antonio Canova from the studio of Canova c.1813

Tomb of Pope Clement XIII Gregorovius

Tomb of Clement XIII

Tomb of Pope Clement XIV Gregorovius

Tomb of Clement XIV

Tomb Monument of Pius VI Gregorovius

Monument to Pius VI

Perseus Canova Pio-Clementino Inv969

Perseus Triumphant, Vatican

Theseus and Centaur

Theseus Fighting the Centaur (1804–1819), Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna[notes 2]

Jerome & Henrietta busts

Pair of portrait busts by Canova, c. 1815

Antonio Canova Cenotaph of Archduchess Maria Christina Augustinerkirche (Wien) panoramic sculpture Austria 2014 photo Paolo Villa August FOTO8412 - FOTO8425auto

Panorama of Cenotaph to Maria Christina of Austria

Canova-Magdalene 45 degree view

The Penitent Magdalene (Hermitage Museum, ex-Leuchtenberg Gallery)

Italy, Antonio Canova Medal by Putinati

Antonio Canova Medal by Francesco Putinati

Canova-Three Graces 0 degree view

The Three Graces, Hermitage

Basilica di Santa Maria dei Frari interno - Monumento di Canova

Monument to Canova in the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, designed by Canova as a mausoleum for the painter Titian


  1. ^ The Glory of Venice: Art in the Eighteenth Century states (pg. 441) that Canova left Venice when it fell, tried to escape to America and then went to Possagno. The fall of Venice was in 1797. There appears to be some gap in knowledge that would correct or amend these accounts. The first reference to Vienna is an online source, the second is the Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911 which has already proven itself incorrect in some areas. The Glory of Venice has proven itself more accurate, but it is undated, leaving speculation of time frame.
  2. ^ Napoleon ordered it for the Corso in Milan; Emperor Franz I bought it for the Theseus Temple in the Volksgarten in Vienna; moved to Kunsthistorisches Museum in 1891.
  1. ^ The fall of Venice occurred in 1797 but was then ceded later to Austria. Encycopedia Britannica - Venice. Accessed 14 May 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s , and Maria Angela Zardo Fantolini. Turner 1996b.
  3. ^ Irwin, David, Antonio Canova, marchese d'Ischia | Italian sculptor,, retrieved 1 April 2017
  4. ^ "Canòva, Antonio nell'Enciclopedia Treccani",, retrieved 1 April 2017
  5. ^ a b Turner 1996a.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Jean Martineau & Andrew Robinson, The Glory of Venice: Art in the Eighteenth Century. Yale University Press, 1994. Print.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Handley 1913.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Rossetti 1911, pp. 204–206.
  9. ^ a b "Eurydice by CANOVA, Antonio".
  10. ^ "Orpheus by CANOVA, Antonio".
  11. ^ a b "Daedalus and Icarus by CANOVA, Antonio".
  12. ^ "Daedalus and Icarus by CANOVA, Antonio".
  13. ^ a b "Theseus and the Minotaur by CANOVA, Antonio".
  14. ^ "Antonio Canova: Neoclassical Sculptor, Biography".
  15. ^ "Tomb of Pope Clement XIII by CANOVA, Antonio".
  16. ^ "Sculptures until 1799".
  17. ^ a b c "Biography of CANOVA, Antonio in the Web Gallery of Art".
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Oskar Batschmann, The Artist in the Modern World: A Conflict Between Market and Self-Expression. DuMont Bunchverlag, 1997. Print.
  19. ^ a b c d "Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker by CANOVA, Antonio".
  20. ^ a b c d "Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker by CANOVA, Antonio".
  21. ^ a b c d "Paolina Borghese as Venus Victrix by CANOVA, Antonio".
  22. ^ Paris, Rita, “Appia, una questione non risolta" in “La via Appia, il bianco e il nero di un patrimonio italiano.” Electa. 2011
  23. ^ "A. Canova (1757 - 1822)". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  24. ^ "Venus Italica by CANOVA, Antonio".
  25. ^ a b "George Washington Sculpture, North Carolina State Capitol, Raleigh". University of North Carolina.
  26. ^ "The Canova Statue". North Carolina State University.
  27. ^ Johns, C.M.S. (1998) Antonio Canova and the Politics of Patronage in Revolutionary and Napoleonic Europe. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, p. 149.
  28. ^ "Perseus Triumphant".
  29. ^ a b "Antonio Canova: Perseus with the Head of Medusa (67.110.1) – Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History – The Metropolitan Museum of Art".
  30. ^ Christopher M. S. Johns, Antonia Canova and the Politics of Patronage in Revolutionary and Napoleonic Europe. University of California Press, 1998. Web. – p. 25
  31. ^ "Perseus with the Head of Medusa by CANOVA, Antonio".
  32. ^ "Perseus with the Head of Medusa by CANOVA, Antonio".
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h Satish Padiyar, Chains: David, Canova, and the Fall of the Public Hero in Postrevolutionary France. Pennsylvania State University Press, 2007.
  34. ^ The Three Graces. Victoria & Albert Museum, 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  35. ^ Sicca, Cinzia; Yarrington, Alison (2001-01-01). The Lustrous Trade: Material Culture and the History of Sculpture in England and Italy, c.1700-c.1860. A&C Black. p. 9. ISBN 9781441185907.
  36. ^ "John Gibson R. A." Retrieved 2017-06-08.


  • Wikisource-logo.svg Handley, Marie Louise Adelaide (1913), "Antonio Canova" , in Herbermann, Charles, Catholic Encyclopedia, New York: Robert Appleton Company
  • Turner, Jane, ed. (1996a), "Neo-Classical", The Dictionary of Art, Vol. XXII', New York: Grove's Dictionaries.
  • Turner, Jane, ed. (1996b), "Antonio Canova", The Dictionary of Art, Vol. XXII, New York: Grove's Dictionaries.


External links

Adamo Tadolini

Adamo Tadolini (21 December 1788 – 16 February 1863) was an Italian sculptor. One of a family of sculptors, he studied in Rome with the neo-classical sculptor Antonio Canova and is linked to him in style.

Bernardo Consorti

Bernardo Consorti (born c. 1785) was an Italian line-engraver. He was born in Rome. He engraved the Holy Family with Family of St. John after Il Garofalo, the Entombment after Anthony van Dyck, and Psyche and other sculptures of Antonio Canova.

Cupid and Psyche (Capitoline Museums)

The marble Cupid and Psyche conserved in the Capitoline Museums, Rome, is a 1st or 2nd century CE Roman copy of a late Hellenistic original. It was given to the nascent Capitoline Museums by Pope Benedict XIV in 1749, shortly after its discovery. Its graceful balance and sentimental appearance made it a favourite among the neoclassical generations of artists and visitors, and it was copied in many materials from bronze to biscuit porcelain. Antonio Canova consciously set out to outdo the Antique original with his own Cupid and Psyche of 1808 (illustration, below left)

The sculpture was discovered in the garden of the vigna of the canonico Panicale on the Aventine Hill in February 1749.The sculpture quite eclipsed a Roman marble of a winged Cupid and Psyche that had been discovered in the 17th century and removed to the Medici collection in Florence. The Capitoline Cupid and Psyche was among the cream of the Roman collections sequestered by the French under the terms of the treaty of Tolentino (1797) and transferred to Paris amid grand theatrics. It was returned to Rome after the fall of Napoleon.

Not all viewers were satisfied by its mediocre execution, and Francis Haskell and Nicholas Penny noted that Jean-Baptiste de Saint-Victor thought it was a reflection of some earlier, better work, and that, earlier, Joseph-Jerome Le Français de Lalande hoped in print that it might inspire some modern sculptor to come up with a superior work on the same subject. Antonio Canova took up the challenge quite consciously, in his Cupid and Psyche of 1808.

Another version of the Cupid and Psyche was discovered by conte Giuseppe Fede in his early excavations at Hadrian's Villa, Tivoli. It has disappeared now, but it was drawn, in its completed and restored condition, by Pompeo Batoni, who was assembling a "paper museum" of antiquities in 1727-30 for the English antiquary Richard Topham. As it was restored, Cupid turns his head away coyly.

Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Milan

The Galleria d'Arte Moderna ("modern art gallery") is a modern art museum in Milan, in Lombardy in northern Italy. It is housed in the Villa Reale, at Via Palestro 16, opposite the Giardini Pubblici. The collection consists largely of Italian and European works from the 18th to the 20th centuries.The museum has works by Francesco Filippini, Giuseppe Ferrari, Giovanni Fattori, Silvestro Lega, Giovanni Boldini, Vincent van Gogh, Édouard Manet, Paul Gauguin, Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, Giacomo Balla, Umberto Boccioni, Francesco Hayez, Giovanni Segantini, Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo and Antonio Canova, among others. It has received donations from Milanese families including Treves, Ponti, Grassi and Vismara.

After the Second World War the twentieth-century works in the collection were moved to the Padiglione d'Arte Contemporanea, built in 1955 on the site of the former stables of the palace, which had been destroyed by wartime bombing.In 2011 some works were moved to the Museo del Novecento; these included Bambina che corre sul balcone by Giacomo Balla (1912), Uomo che dorme by Renato Guttuso (1938) and The Fourth Estate by Pellizza da Volpedo (1901).

In recent years the Modern Art Gallery has started a parallel program of temporary exhibitions, including a solo presentation of Tino Sehgal and a selection of drawings from the UBS Art Collection curated by Francesco Bonami.

George Washington (Canova)

George Washington was a life-size marble statue of George Washington, done in the style of a Roman general, by the Italian Neoclassical sculptor Antonio Canova. Commissioned by the State of North Carolina in 1815, it was completed in 1820 and installed in the rotunda of the North Carolina State House on December 24, 1821. The building and the statue were destroyed by fire on June 21, 1831. This work was the only one created by Canova for the United States.

Giuseppe Bernardi

Giuseppe Bernardi (24 March 1694 in Pagnano – 22 February 1773 in Venice), also called Torretto, was a prominent mid-18th-century Italian sculptor. He is also known as a carver of intaglios and as the first teacher of Neoclassical sculptor Antonio Canova. His father was Sebastiano Bernardi whose works include the statues of the park of the Villa Manin di Passariano (Udine) and of the Prato della Valle in Padua. His mother, Cecilia Torretto, was sister to the sculptor Giuseppe Torretto and Bernardi took the nickname "il Torretto" as a child in honor of his uncle.

Giuseppe Torretto

Giuseppe Torretto or Torretti (1661 in Pagnano – 1743 in Venice) was an Italian sculptor of statues and intaglios.

Mainly working in Venice, statues by him can be found in the churches of Santa Maria Formosa, I Gesuiti, Santa Maria di Nazareth and San Stae among others. The side walls of the Manin Chapel at Udine have stone high-reliefs by him showing scenes from the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He also founded a notable studio, which was kept going after his death by his grandchildren Giuseppe Bernardi and Giovanni Ferrari, whose students included Antonio Canova.

Lorenzo Bartolini

Lorenzo Bartolini (Prato, 7 January 1777 – Florence, 20 January 1850) was an Italian sculptor who infused his neoclassicism with a strain of sentimental piety and naturalistic detail, while he drew inspiration from the sculpture of the Florentine Renaissance rather than the overpowering influence of Antonio Canova that circumscribed his Florentine contemporaries.

Marriage of the Virgin (Perugino)

The Marriage of the Virgin is a painting by the Italian Renaissance master Perugino, although it is now sometimes attributed to his pupil Lo Spagna. It depicts the marriage between Joseph and Mary, and is now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts of Caen, France. Initially commissioned to Pinturicchio for the recently completed cathedral of Perugia, Perugino took over the commission and finished the work around 1500-1504, probably after several periods of stasis.

A very similar composition was painted by unknown artists (sometimes attributed to Fiorenzo di Lorenzo, probable teacher of Perugino or Rocco Zoppo, assistant of Perugino) for the church of San Girolamo in Spello in 1492. Which (if present scholarship is correct) is about ten years earlier than Perugino's and Raphael's treatments of the same subject. Composition is heavier since it does not show elegant central perspective appearing in Perugino's and later Raphael's more famous works. However the figures in the foreground are very similar to both later paintings, including the unmistakable young man breaking the rod.

Later, in 1797, the picture was looted by Napoleon and was subsequently taken to Caen, Normandy. Attempts by the commune of Perugia, and the personal commitment of Antonio Canova, to retrieve the work failed.

The wide perspective of the picture, with at its centre an octagonal edifice and the aligned composition of the figures on the sides, is strongly related to the Perugino's Christ Giving the Keys to St. Peter at the Sistine Chapel. The painting prominently displays the Virgin's engagement ring, which was then kept at the cathedral as a holy relic.

Raphael, Perugino's pupil, painted a version of his own of the picture in 1504.

Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker

Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker is a colossal heroic nude statue by the Italian artist Antonio Canova, of Napoleon I of France in the guise of the Roman god Mars. He holds a gilded Nike or Victory standing on an orb in his right hand and a staff in his left. It was produced between 1802 and 1806 and stands 3.45 metres to the raised left hand. Once on display in the Louvre in Paris, it was purchased from Louis XVIII in 1816 by the British government, which granted it to the Duke of Wellington. It is now on display in Robert Adam's stairwell at the Duke's London residence, Apsley House.

Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker (Milan)

Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker is a bronze cast of the marble sculpture of the same name by Antonio Canova. It was commissioned from Canova in spring 1807 by Charles-Jean-Marie Alquier, French ambassador to Rome, commissioned it from Canova for 5,000 Louis as a gift to Eugene de Beauharnais, viceroy of the Kingdom of Italy. It was cast in 1811 and De Beauharnais sent it to Milan in May 1812, but the city found it difficult to find a site for it. It was finally moved to its present site in the main courtyard of the Palazzo di Brera (now the Pinacoteca di Brera and inaugurated there on 14 August 1859 during Napoleon III's visit.

North Carolina State House

The North Carolina State House was built from 1792 to 1796 as the state capitol for North Carolina. It was located at Union Square in the state capital, Raleigh, in Wake County. The building was extensively renovated in the neoclassical style by William Nichols, the state architect, from 1820 to 1824. On December 24, 1821, the statue of George Washington by Antonio Canova was displayed in the rotunda. Both were destroyed by fire in 1831.

Pinacoteca Civica di Forlì

The Pinacoteca Civica of Forlì, one of the civic museums of Forlì and currently based in the Musei di San Domenico, is an Italian art gallery. Artists whose work the gallery exhibits include:

Livio Agresti

Beato Angelico

Nicola Bertucci

Guido Cagnacci - the museum recently acquired (2005) his work "Allegoria dell'Astrologia sferica"

Antonio Canova

Baldassarre Carrari

Giovanni Crivelli


Giovanni Fattori


Lorenzo di Credi

Carlo Magini

Girolamo Marchesi

Melozzo da Forlì(?)

Francesco Menzocchi

Livio Modigliani

Giorgio Morandi

Marco Palmezzano

Adolfo Wildt

It contains the Verzocchi collection of 20th-century Italian painting.


Possagno is a comune in the Province of Treviso, in the Italian region Veneto. It is located about 60 kilometres (37 mi) northwest of Venice and about 35 kilometres (22 mi) northwest of Treviso. As of 31 December 2004, it had a population of 2,154 and an area of 12.1 square kilometres (4.7 sq mi).Possagno borders the following municipalities: Alano di Piave, Castelcucco, Cavaso del Tomba, Paderno del Grappa.

Antonio Canova (1757-1822), the great neoclassical sculptor was born in Possagno. He chose to erect the Tempio Canoviano in the city, a structure he designed, financed, and partly-built himself. The temple has become one of the city's landmarks.

Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss

Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss (Italian: Amore e Psiche [aˈmoːre e ˈpsiːke]; French: Psyché ranimée par le baiser de l'Amour; Russian: Аму́р и Психе́я, translit. Amúr i Psikhéja) is a sculpture by Antonio Canova first commissioned in 1787 by Colonel John Campbell. It is regarded as a masterpiece of Neoclassical sculpture, but shows the mythological lovers at a moment of great emotion, characteristic of the emerging movement of Romanticism. It represents the god Cupid in the height of love and tenderness, immediately after awakening the lifeless Psyche with a kiss. The story of Cupid and Psyche is taken from Lucius Apuleius' Latin novel The Golden Ass, and was popular in art.

Joachim Murat acquired the first or prime version (pictured) in 1800. After his death the statue entered the Louvre Museum in Paris, France in 1824;Prince Yusupov, a Russian nobleman acquired the 2nd version of the piece from Canova in Rome in 1796, and it later entered the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg.

The Three Graces (sculpture)

Antonio Canova’s statue The Three Graces is a Neoclassical sculpture, in marble, of the mythological three charites, daughters of Zeus – identified on some engravings of the statue as, from left to right, Euphrosyne, Aglaea and Thalia – who were said to represent youth/beauty (Thalia), mirth (Euphrosyne), and elegance (Aglaea). The Graces presided over banquets and gatherings, to delight the guests of the gods. As such they have served as subjects for historical artists including Sandro Botticelli and Bertel Thorvaldsen.

A version of the sculpture is in the Hermitage Museum, another is owned jointly and exhibited in turn by the Victoria and Albert Museum and the National Galleries of Scotland.

Venus Victorious

Not to be confused with Venus Victrix by Antonio Canova.Venus Victorious (French - Venus victorieuse; French - Venus victoriosa) is a c.1914 plaster sculpture of Venus by the French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir, based on his image of the goddess in his painting The Judgement of Paris. It shows her holding the golden apple she has just won by being judged the most beautiful of three goddesses by Paris. It is now in the Museo Soumaya in Mexico City.Renoir had advanced arthritis by the time he produced the work and so was assisted by the Catalan artist Richard Guino, recommended to him by Aristide Maillol. On Renoir's death, his family and Guino's family argued over who owned the sculpture, with the former winning out. When Paul Renoir moved to Canada he took the sculpture with him - on his death his widow sold it and the last painting ever painted by Renoir at auction. On 19 September 2013 it was auctioned again, this time by the Ukrainian Institute of America to the Carlos Slim Foundation, which passed it its current owners.A bronze cast from the sculpture is now in Tate Britain.

Venus Victrix (Canova)

Pauline Bonaparte as Venus Victrix (or Venus Victorious) is a semi-nude life-size reclining neo-Classical portrait sculpture by the Italian sculptor Antonio Canova. Reviving the ancient Roman artistic traditions of portrayals of mortal individuals in the guise of the gods, and of the beautiful female form reclining on a couch (as most often seen in reclining portrayals of Hermaphroditi), it was commissioned by Pauline Bonaparte's husband Camillo Borghese and executed in Rome from 1805 to 1808, after the subject's marriage into the Borghese family. It then moved to Camillo's house in Turin, then to Genoa, only arriving in its present home (the Galleria Borghese in Rome) around 1838.

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