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Antonio Canova
Venus Italica White Statuary Marble Sculpture After Antonio Canova

after 1800

$10,000

About

This marble sculpture of Venus Italica is a reduced scale, aprox 1/2, of the original version of the Venus Italica, that is a height 172 cm and was commissioned by Napoléon Bonaparte and fashioned by Italian sculptor Antonio Canova. Canova finished the original work in 1802 and modelled two further variants which he completed in 1819. The work was to serve as a replacement for the Venus de Medici sculpture, a copy of an antique work by Cleomenes of Athens, which had been seized, taken to France and placed in the Louvre in 1802 by orders of Bonaparte. After Napoleon's abdication the Venus de Medici was returned to Italy on 27 December 1815 and is since on display in the Room of Venus in the Galleria Palatina at the Palazzo Pitti in Florence. Early 19th century president of the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze (Florence Academy of Fine Arts) Count Giovanni degli Alessandri encouraged the ingenious Neoclassical sculptor Antonio Canova to create a copy of the Venus de Medici. Canova approved and set to work on the Venus Italica, which is considered to be one of his masterpieces in both, artistic conception and craftship. According to art critic Edward Lucie-Smith the artistic expression of sexual vulnerability is conveyed better than on the original Venus de Medici. Most viewers have noticed Canova's superior craftmanship on marble surfaces and textures. His unique technique and ability to achieve the illusion of human flesh has been called the Direct touch. Canova would eventually begin to display his studio works in candlelight. Intrigued by the effects of the light and shade of the candles on the translucent marble surface Canova soon began to further soften the transitions between the various parts of the statue and rub them down with special tools and pumice stone, sometimes for weeks or months. Antonio Canova ( 1 November 1757 – 13 October 1822) was an Italian Neoclassical sculptor, famous for his marble sculptures. In 1757, Antonio Canova was born in the Venetian Republic city of Possagno to Pietro Canova, a stonecutter, and Maria Angela Zardo Fantolini. In 1761, his father died. A year later, his mother remarried. As such, in 1762, he was put into the care of his paternal grandfather Pasino Canova, who was a stonemason, owner of a quarry, and was a "sculptor who specialized in altars with statues and low reliefs in late Baroque style". He led Antonio into the art of sculpting. Before the age of ten, Canova began making models in clay, and carving marble Indeed, at the age of nine, he executed two small shrines of Carrara marble, which are still extant. After these works, he appears to have been constantly employed under his grandfatherOften regarded as the greatest of the Neoclassical artists, his sculpture was inspired by the Baroque and the classical revival, and has been characterised as having avoided the melodramatics of the former, and the cold artificiality of the latter. By 1800, Canova was the most celebrated artist in Europe and he systematically promoted his reputation by publishing engravings of his works and having marble versions of plaster casts made in his workshop. He became so successful that he had acquired patrons from across Europe including France, England, Russia, Poland, Austria and Holland, as well as several members from different royal lineages, and prominent individuals. Among his patrons were Napoleon and his family, for whom Canova produced much work, including several depictions between 1803 and 1809. The most notable representations were that of Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker, and Venus Victrix which was portrayal of Pauline Bonaparte. Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker had its inception after Canova was hired to make a bust of Napoleon in 1802. The statue was begun in 1803, with Napoleon requesting to be shown in a French General's uniform, Canova rejected this, insisting on an allusion to Mars, the Roman god of War. It was completed in 1806. In 1811, the statue arrived in Paris, but not installed; neither was its bronze copy in the Foro Napoleonico in Milan. In 1815, the original went to the Duke of Wellington, after his victory at Waterloo against Napoleon.

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