January 2, 2009

Canova and Neoclassicism

A. Canova, Love and Psiche, Louvre, Paris
It is not just because Antonio Canova was born in a small village located a few miles from the North-Eastern Italian town where I live that I feel the need to write this post, but rather because he is the greatest Italian sculptor of modern times, the artist who in 1802, by special request of Napoleon I, went to Paris and modeled a colossal figure of the emperor, which on the fall of the emperor himself was presented by Louis XVIII to the British government, which in turn gave it to the Duke of Wellington—sic transit gloria mundi … but Canova’s time of glory was destined to last far longer than that of Napoleon! In 1818 he was also commissioned to make a heroic statue of George Washington for the State House, Raleigh, N.C., while his “Bust of Napoleon” is in the Corcoran Gallery, Washington, and other masterpieces are in the Vatican and in the Louvre Museum.

Ok, I don’t want to indulge in unnecessary vaunting (and parochialism), nor do I want to beat about the bush … the reason of this post is an upcoming exhibition in the North-Central Italian city of Forlì, starting from January 25 through June 21. The exhibit will be focused on the ties between Antonio Canova and international neoclassical art. Don’t miss it, if you can help it. Read here to understand why.