Socrates Taking Leave of His Family

Antonio Canova1787/1790

Fondazione Cariplo

Fondazione Cariplo
Milan, Italy

This is one of the three scenes devoted to the death of Socrates, as narrated by Plato in Phaedo. For these scenes Canova drew inspiration from Cesarotti’s translation, depicting them as a kind of layman’s Stations of the Cross. The sculptor completely foregoes narration, eliminating all decorative elements and focusing entirely on tersely rendering the event, with the intention of representing the classical spirit that is the well-spring of his art. The bas-relief was reproduced in an engraving by Tommaso Piroli (engraver) and Vincenzo Camuccini (draughtsman): copperplate etching retouched with burin; 240 x 498 mm.


  • Title: Socrates Taking Leave of His Family
  • Creator: Antonio Canova
  • Date: 1787/1790
  • Physical Dimensions: w271 x h125 x d17 cm (Complete)
  • Exhibition: Gallerie d'Italia, Piazza Scala, 6, Milano
  • Provenance: Cariplo Foundation, 1991
  • Type: Sculpture, bas relief, plaster
  • Rights: http://www.artgate-cariplo.it/en/disclaimer.html
  • External Link: www.artgate-cariplo.it

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