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This sculpture depicts Hebe, the daughter of Zeus and Hera, as she serves nectar to the gods. Its beauty embodies the canonical ideals sought by Neoclassical experimentalists: the ethereal face, the fluid lines of the garments that outline and caress her body, and the graceful gesture of her arm holding the amphora harmonize with the elegant motion of the young woman, who seems to almost float.

The plaster cast from 1798—considered to be one of the most valuable pieces by Pompeo Marchesi—is the original model for the statue, from which the first 2 marble reconstructions were made; these are now kept at the National Gallery in Berlin and the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg. Two different 1808 versions of "Ebe"—one found in the Devonshire Collection and the other at the Pinacoteca Comunale gallery in Forlì—differ most significantly in the support structure of the statue; in these, the artificial cloud is replaced with a simple tree trunk.

The plaster was destroyed in the explosion of the bomb that damaged the PAC and the Villa Reale in 1993. A meticulous restoration process was carried out to put the pieces back together, restoring the sculpture to a single piece, removing layers of varnish and revealing the plaster's original exterior.

Details

  • Title: Hebe
  • Creator: Antonio Canova
  • Date: 1796/1796
  • Physical Location: Galleria d'Arte Moderna di Milano
  • bequest: Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: w74 x h163 x d82 cm
  • Provenance: Bequeathed by Marchesi-Fogliani, 1861-1862
  • Type: sculpture
  • Medium: plaster

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