Here he is at work
Antonio Canova (1757-1822) was an Italian sculptor made famous for his masterful marble sculptures that his genius hands delicately rendered to resemble nude flesh. His pieces are the epitome of the neoclassical style. Canova’s work brilliantly marked a return to classical refinement of the Renaissance masters after decades of the theatrical excesses of Baroque sculpture.
A detail of his extraordinary talents
Canova was considered the greatest sculptor of his time and one has but to look at his work to see how very true that assessment was. His work and gentlemanly personality became a model for all sculptors for many years.
Canova's bust of Napoleon
In 1802, Canova was invited to Paris by Napoleon, in order to carve marble portraits of the emperor and his mother and sister.
Cupid and Psyche
'Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss' was commissioned in 1787 and acquired by Joachim Murat in 1800, and entered the Louvre in 1824. Canova was a prolific sculptor, and he seduced the whole of Europe with his mythological compositions in which the purity of contours was used to portray a discrete eroticism.
Canova illustrates the Romantic Classicism that was so valued at the time: he creates daring images of seductive elegance and form. Both the supple figures and tactful features of his work recall the earlier Rococo, with its charm and realism, but he is firmly Neoclassic in his approach.
The three graces
In the area of portraiture he was the absolute champion of idealization. He displayed a sensibility both to naturalism and to the early Renaissance, opening the way to two dominant trends at the beginning of the century: skilled realism and historical subject matter.
A lovely way to start the week, I think.
My love, my care,