CANOVA IN VENICE: CANOVA AT THE GALLERIE DELL’ACCADEMIA IN VENICE
Canova in Venice. One of the greatest novelties of the new tour of the exhibition at the Gallerie dell’Accademia, which I have recently described in a special post dedicated to the new rooms set in the Palladian Wing, is the exhibition of the works by Antonio Canova in Venice.
These works were often chosen and sent to Venice by the sculptor himself with the aim of being the didactic instrument for the students at the Accademia di Belle Arti, to which Canova would be attached for all his life.
These works are very important because they allow us to understand the artistic process of Antonio Canova, from drawings to models and to completed works.
It’s not the first time Canova in Venice has found a new placement inside the Musei Veneziani.
Also the Museo Correr has recently dedicated a special section to Antonio Canova through the Project “Sublime Canova” which will exhibit sculptures by Canova in the neoclassical rooms.
Thanks to the project of the Gallerie dell’Accademia a series of works Canova himself chose for a didactic purpose have been saved.
After the end of the didactic purpose attributed to the Gallerie and the separation from the Accademia di Belle Arti in 1882, Canova’s plaster casts were declassified to a minor material and were considered banal.
For years these works were stored in the rear of the museum, and in the latest setting only three authentic terracotta models were on exhibition in a showcase, because most of the space was dedicated to paintings.
Thanks to recent studies on Canova these plaster casts have played an important role, and a promotion was necessary, because the casts themselves are an essential instrument to promote Canova and his works.
That’s why now these sculptures will occupy a prestigious place in the Palladian Wing.
Now at the Gallerie dell’Accademia next to the plaster casts of the four funerary steles (a genre which became common during the first half of the 19th century thanks to Canova), you’ll find the six plaster casts friezes, last Canova’s creation.
The artist made them so they could be sent to Venice so that sculptors of the Accademia di Belle Arti could make stone versions for the Tempio Canoviano (The Temple of Canova) in Possagno.
You can also see the models by Canova and the plaster casts of the two lions Canova sculpted for the funerary monument of Pope Clement XIII (Pope Carlo della Torre di Rezzonico) in St. Peter’s in Rome, which show the extraordinary talent of the sculptor.
But, maybe, the most beautiful work is the Pietà.
It’s the best cast from the original model now exhibited in the Gipsoteca (gallery of plaster casts) in the Museo Canoviano (the Museum of Antonio Canova) in Possagno (near Treviso).
It was Quatremère de Quincy, architectural theorist and art critic, close friend of Canova, who suggested that Antonio Canova created this sculpture, for the Parisian Church of Saint-Sulpice, because in France there weren’t works of sacred art by Canova.
The sculpture, actually, would be carved out of marble and bronze only after Canova’s death.
The Accademia Galleries are located in Campo della Carità in the Sestriere of Dorsoduro (street number 1050) in Venice, very close to the Accademia Bridge.