Antonio Canova: 9 works

A slideshow of artworks auto-selected from multiple collections

By Google Arts & Culture

Hebe (1796) by Antonio CanovaAlte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

'Canova's art comes at the end of a tradition in which the pleasing decorative aspect of the whole was valued above the effectiveness of individual parts, and when it was also still artistically acceptable to portray transitory, non-plastic notions such as floating and the wind, very much in the spirit of Baroque ideals of representation. Around 1800 the sculptor Canova enjoyed the highest of reputations throughout Europe, for his figures did indeed personify the Age of Sentiment and Sensibility.'

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'But while sculptor Antonio Canova clearly emulated several antiques, his Apollo is not a copy of an already existing statue.'

Socrates Drinking Hemlock (1787/1790) by Antonio CanovaFondazione Cariplo

'For these scenes Canova drew inspiration from Cesarotti's translation for these subjects, depicting them as a kind of layman's Stations of the Cross.'

Dance of the Sons of Alcynous (1790/1792) by Antonio CanovaFondazione Cariplo

'This is one of the scenes representing episodes in epic poetry, for which Canova drew his inspiration from Cesarotti's translations of Homer's works.'

Feed the Hungry (1795/1795) by Antonio CanovaFondazione Cariplo

'In all likelihood, Canova executed the two plaster reliefs Feed the Hungry and Teach the Ignorant for Abbondio Rezzonico, who hung them in an area set aside for a school he created to educate children from the lower-classes.'

Cupid and Psyche (1808) by Antonio CanovaThe State Hermitage Museum

'By the end of the 18th century, Canova was a leading figure in the Neoclassical movement, the theories of which were first formulated in the works of the German scholar Johann Joachim Winckelmann.'

Three Graces (1813 - 1816) by Antonio CanovaThe State Hermitage Museum

'Unlike compositions which derived from Classical Antiquity - where the outer figures turn out towards the viewer and the central figure embraces her friends with her back to us - Canova's figures stand side by side, all facing each other.'

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'This figure wears a historically accurate cloak, which suggests that Canova researched the subject.'

Mars and Venus (1817 - 1822) by Antonio CanovaRoyal Collection Trust, UK

'He was based in Rome, where he produced many sculptures for the Bonaparte family. Following Napoleon's defeat in 1815 Canova visited England and George IV, then the Prince Regent, promptly commissioned him to carve this statue.'

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