The 18th century, leading to the birth of a new world
In Italy, art history generally marks the end of the great Italian cultural age, inaugurated by Giotto, with the luminism of Giovan Battista Tiepolo or with the refined neoclassical elegance of Antonio Canova (1757-1822). In fact, in the 18th century Italy gradually lost that role of cultural leader that had seen it at the center of European art for centuries. Thus Rome, while retaining the charm of the Eternal City, the cradle of Western civilization, of the perennial beauty of the “ancient,” for centuries the capital of culture, heir to the Greco-Roman tradition, ceded its cultural hegemony to Paris, an international metropolis increasingly able to embrace the living forces of the time. In a period marked by a series of profound political and social transformations: on the one hand the 18th century marked the triumph of monarchy, on the other, it saw its fall with the French Revolution of 1789. While the 19th century saw the rise of Napoleon, in 1815 the Congress of Vienna restored the monarchies, which were stunned by the changing times, which in turn were characterized by the victory of a rich, enterprising and culturally secular bourgeoisie.
In the 18th century, with the rise of the Enlightenment, the cultural, spiritual and philosophical climate was changing radically from a world characterized by religious issues that had led to deep divisions between European states. Religion, questioned as a source of error and superstition, was now looked upon with suspicion. From the theological point of view, too, there was a radical change in thinking about God. Certainly, God was always considered the origin of the world; he was often spoken of as the “eternal architect” of the universe, as Voltaire wrote, but he was no longer the “final cause” of every reality, the goal toward which everything tended as an end.
God was seen as an “efficient cause,” indifferent to the fate of the world, to human pain. The splendid image of Andrea Pozzo in the vault of the church of Sant’Ignazio in Rome, in which the Holy Trinity attracts everything to itself like a magnet, subverting the laws of nature, appeared definitively out of date. The natural world was no longer seen as the revelation of a creator God who takes care of man and creation, but the space in which the history of a humanity that has achieved its own autonomy from God takes place. A “secular” religiosity was increasingly affirmed, according to which God does not intervene in human affairs, but allows life to follow its own course.
Rome, capital of Neoclassicism
During the 18th century, the subjects represented by artists also gradually changed. Instead of the traditional religious iconography, commissioned by the Catholic Church, preference was now given to secular themes or the myths of antiquity, through which a rich and prosperous bourgeoisie intended to exalt themselves, almost as if they were its ideal heirs, capable of handing down its spiritual and moral values, as is evident in the works of the French painter Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825). Thanks to Antonio Canova, and his great Danish rival Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844), Rome became a European crossroads for formulating a new interpretation of the classical world.
The mythological figures of Daedalus and Icarus, the three Graces, Cupid and Psyche, Venus, Adonis, Hebe, Hercules and Lichas were revived in this way in the Western imagination, fueling dreams and aspirations, nostalgia and the desire to renew that glorious mythical world, always loved and longed for. Antiquity was evoked and re-envisioned through the classical themes of the elusive paths of youth, the enchantment and wonder of beauty, love’s escapades and disappointments, and the tragic inevitability of death. Thus, the severe nobility and the solemn and monumental aspects of neoclassical architecture, the nostalgia for the past and the desire to relive its greatness become a manifestation of the power and glory of the new nation states that asserted themselves definitively in the 19th century, to the point of shaping the geopolitical order of today.
Antonio Canova, in search of the antique
In this climate, full of new ferment, Antonio Canova was born in Possagno into a wealthy family of stonemasons, skilled in the practice of stone-working and architectural activity. From the very beginning of his training, when he was studying plaster casts of ancient and modern statues, he focused his attention on ancient culture. From his earliest works, in which he practiced by representing baskets of fruit or ancient myths, such as Orpheus and Eurydice (1773) for the Venetian Falier family, his success was marked. In particular, the sculpture of Daedalus and Icarus (1779), notable for its rhythmic compositional structure and chiaroscuro effects, secured him a place in the Venetian artistic world: Canova was elected a member of the prestigious Accademia di Venezia.
After this early recognition, in order to perfect his art and deepen a substantially practical training, the young Venetian sculptor went to Rome (1779-80), a compulsory venue for any artist who wanted to work with the themes of antiquity. As he wrote in his diaries, in the Eternal City he discovered a new world of “statues, colossi, temples, baths, circuses, amphitheaters, triumphal arches, tombs, stuccoes, frescoes and bas-reliefs.”
The ancient world unfolded before his eyes through the examples of a glorious civilization. Canova learned English and French, read the Greek and Latin classics, learnt about Greco-Roman mythology and made many friends with the most influential artistic and cultural figures of the time, such as Pompeo Batoni and Raphael Mengs. He quickly became fascinated by the neoclassical ideal of Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717-68), a convinced advocate of the superiority of Greek civilization over the Roman and promoter of the classical ideal of an art based on a sense of harmony, on a “noble simplicity and quiet grandeur.” Perhaps the most admired ancient statue in the 18th century, the Belvedere Apollo, was for him close to revelation.
Meanwhile, his travels continued. In Naples, Canova was struck by the Sansevero Chapel, in particular by Sanmartino’s Veiled Christ and Corradini’s Pudicizia. He wrote: “Naples, February 2, 1780. […] this chapel is full of statues, including the Veiled statue by Corradini with the inscription […] in these words: ‘Antonio Corradino Veneto Scultori Cesareo et appositi simulacri vel ipsis grecis invidendi Autori qui dura reliquia hujus Templi ornamententa meditabatur obit A. MDCCLII’.” The artist studied the Farnese collection in the Reggia di Capodimonte, which was under construction at the time, and explored the sites of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Paestum, citing more and more neoclassical themes. The statue of Theseus Victorious over the Minotaur (1781-83), created on the advice of the artist and collector Gavin Hamilton, embodies the manifesto of an art that increasingly sought to express the ideal beauty that is the key to neoclassicism.
Funerary monuments: classicism in a dialectic between life and death
In 1783 Canova received a commission for the sepulcher of Pope Clement XIV in the Basilica of the Twelve Holy Apostles (1783-87) in Rome. Setting aside the classical model of the Roman stele or funerary monument, the Venetian artist took as his starting point the compositional structure adopted by Bernini for the tomb of Pope Alexander VII Chigi at St. Peter’s, in the Vatican, but he purified and transfigured it into a calm and absorbed meditation on death. Beneath the statue of the pope, placed at the top of the structure, with his right arm raised, are the allegories of Temperance, bent over the sarcophagus with a quiet and resigned face, and Humility who, with her head bowed and her arms folded in her lap, reflects on the destiny of humanity. In the center, a mysterious door to the underworld opens.
From 1783 to 1792 Canova worked on the funerary monument to Clement XIII for St. Peter’s Basilica. The compositional structure is divided into three levels. On the lower level, two lions protect the entrance to the sepulcher, while on the sides are placed the genii of Religion and Death. The sarcophagus is on the second level; on the third is the statue of the pope kneeling obliquely on the sarcophagus, praying, with the tiara resting on the ground as a sign of humility. Canova does not seem attentive to the symmetry of the composition, but rather outlines a symbolic path of ascent from the bottom to the top, from life to death. Through an open door, we are introduced into a timeless dimension.
These were the dramatic years of Napoleon’s conquests in Italy, which on February 19, 1797, saw the signing of the Treaty of Tolentino, on the basis of which Pope Pius IV was forced to surrender manuscripts and works of art, such as the ancient statues of Laocoon and the Belvedere Apollo. It was a real act of pillage, which left the Italian peninsula astonished and bewildered, powerless in the face of the disasters of war.
In the meantime, between 1799 and 1805, Canova created the great sepulcher of Maria Christina of Austria in the church of St Augustine in Vienna, commissioned by Duke Albert of Saxony-Teschen, her husband. The tomb becomes an architectural theme: everything is based on the geometric form of the pyramid, a traditional mortuary symbol. The monument appears as a luminous plane, “pierced” by a door suggesting an unfathomable depth. That opening appears as a threshold that opens up to mystery. The composition is asymmetrical, the rhythm is calm and tranquil. Everything is resolved in a slow and melancholy procession of allegorical figures toward the dark threshold of death, in a procession at the end of which is an old man holding a cane, blind, led by a young woman. The ashes are contained in an urn held by another woman with two young girls at her side. All the characters are joined together by a garland of flowers descending from an urn. All are invited to walk on a light cloth which, unfurled on the steps like an impalpable and very thin veil of water, symbolizes the continuity between life and death. Humanity moves inexorably toward death, calling every human being to move toward that entrance to darkness. On the right stands a winged funerary genius, with gentle features, leaning limply on the back of a crouching lion, the silent guardian of the entrance. Above, the funeral procession is assisted by Happiness who, accompanied by a winged putto in flight with a palm branch in his hand, holds a medallion on which Maria Christina’s face is portrayed. The symbol of eternity is represented by the ouroboros, a snake biting its tail, which frames the medallion on which the empress is portrayed.
Canova’s classicism is expressed here in an intense dialectic between life and death. Faced with the passing from life, the violence of the passions is appeased, the sound of history is kept at a distance. It is as if eternal sleep envelops everything with its mantle. In fact, from one point of view, the monument to Maria Christina corresponds thematically to Foscolo’s poem Dei Sepolcri, which was written two years after the Canova monument was created. Here, the theme of death is reinterpreted in the light of a classicism that is an inexhaustible source of a distant and elusive beauty, of a yearning and melancholic nostalgia. Canova, still reflecting on death, then designed a monument for Titian for the church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice, which was never completed. As in the sepulcher of Maria Christina, the sarcophagus and the statue of the deceased were replaced by a medallion carried by two angels.
‘Cupid and Psyche’ ‘Adonis and Venus’ ‘Hercules and Lichas’
“We need to revive the perfection of the ancients.” During his trip to Italy, when he saw the sculptures of the Venetian artist, Goethe saw this aim as Canova’s intention: “Neither the eye nor the mind is sufficient to embrace them in their entirety […], its form does not represent nature, it sublimates it.” This perfection is fully “revealed” in the sculpture of Cupid and Psyche (1793). The work provoked such a positive reception that from then on the commissions would follow one after the other. Canova produced a number of masterpieces, such as the sculpture group Adonis and Venus (1798-95), which represents the last farewell of the goddess of love to Adonis, and that of Hercules and Lichas (1795-1815), derived from a careful reinterpretation of classical models.
Commissioned by the Russian prince Nikolai Yusupov, the group Cupid and Psyche, one of the artist’s most celebrated works, depicts the instant before the kiss of the two lovers, announced by the pose of the gazes as they contemplate each other in sweetness and tenderness, in a restrained transport, waiting for their lips to join in a kiss. With great refinement and subtle sensuality, the god Cupid descends to awaken Psyche, the Soul. The beautiful Psyche, awakened, encircles the head of her beloved, as if she could crown him. Everything here is redolent of sweetness and harmony.
The love of beauty coincides with the beauty of love. Every element in the work is articulated according to a rhythm similar to that of poetry, thanks to a game of pushes and counter-pushes, of tensions and flexions. Every single gesture seems to suggest the dynamics of a desire still held back, waiting for the movement to unfold freely. Everything is presented according to a perfect and calibrated compositional balance, which can be fully appreciated by walking around the work. In the soft light, the material seems to lose its own weight and inertia, to become animated and alive.
The marble appears transfigured, sublimated, light, transparent. The bodies of the two lovers are portrayed in anatomical perfection, yet in their extraordinary, idealized beauty. In a particular way, the intersection of the bodies creates the form of a sinuous X, which seems to lift and elevate the work into space. Canova creates an intersection of curved lines. While the first arc proceeds from the tip of Cupid’s left wing to end at the tip of his foot, the second arc starts from the right wing and ends at the tip of Psyche’s foot. The point of intersection of the two lines, the focal point of the composition, emerges from the delicate embrace of the two young characters. Moreover, the arms of the two lovers, forming two intertwined circles, seem to give shape to a magical circle that frames their beautiful faces.
Canova, the Academies and the ‘Venus Italica’
In 1810 Canova was elected an academician of San Luca, an institution of which he became president. This was a further success, making him one of the most celebrated artists in demand at European courts. Napoleon Bonaparte asked for a portrait of himself, which the artist painted in Paris in 1801, representing him in the guise of Mars the Peacemaker, despite his reservations about someone who had betrayed the Republic of Venice, ceding it to Austria by the Treaty of Campoformio (1797), after having plundered its wealth and works of art.
Canova’s rise continued unabated. He became a member of the Milan Academy of Fine Arts and “general inspector of all the Fine Arts for Rome and the Papal States, with supervision of the Vatican and Capitoline museums and the Academy of San Luca.” In the meantime, to make up for the transfer to France of the Venus de’ Medici, placed in the Louvre after the Napoleonic plundering, Canova sculpted the Venus Italica (1804-08) for the city of Florence. This represents the goddess caught in the act of hiding behind a veil, perhaps surprised by the arrival of someone, reflecting the classical subject of the Venus pudica. It was placed in the Tribuna of the Uffizi. Canova wanted this statue to evoke the spirit of the Greco-Roman model, through the soft tenderness of the flesh, the sweet vibration of the statue in space, avoiding any strong chiaroscuro element and delicately articulating the body through refined nuances.
Academic honors multiplied. The artist was recognized by the Academies of Fine Arts in Florence (1791); of Painting and Sculpture in Stockholm (1796); of Painting and Sculpture in Verona (1803); in Venice (1804); in Siena (1805); and in Lucca (1806). In Europe, the sculptor was received at the Academies of St Petersburg (1804), Geneva (1804), Denmark (1805), Graz (1812), Marseilles (1813), Munich (1814), as well as New York (1817), Antwerp (1818), Vilnius (1818) and Philadelphia. In short, he was the most recognized and celebrated sculptor in Europe.
The portrait of Pauline Borghese: the love of perfection
Canova further increased his prestige with the execution of the portrait of Pauline Bonaparte, Napoleon’s sister and wife of Prince Scipione Borghese, represented in the guise of Venus Victrix. The sculpture, completed in 1808, shows the woman reclining on an elegant agrippina – a sort of chaise longue in the Empire style, very fashionable at the time – modeled on an Etruscan urn, with the deceased reclining on the triclinium while attending a funeral banquet. Pauline holds the apple of victory in her hand, showing that she has been chosen by Paris as the most beautiful of the goddesses. Canova’s technical virtuosity and formal perfection elevate Pauline to the dignity of a goddess. This is an ideal portrait; indeed, he makes Pauline, well-known and talked about for her free and worldly character and her passion for parties , the icon of Neoclassicism.
The Venetian artist created the sculpture after long reflection, testified to by numerous preparatory drawings and by the original plaster cast preserved in the Gypsotheca in Possagno, which shows the numerous “points,” i.e. the references needed to make the marble sculpture. Canova in fact left this operation to his assistants, reserving for himself “the last hand,” that is to say that long and patient extraordinary polishing with increasingly delicate abrasives, which led to the effect of “true flesh,” reflected in vision by candlelight. This is the secret of his art, which is perfected in that “refinement” he uses to calibrate the luminous effects. With this in mind, the rendering of the mattress, which seems to sink softly under the weight of the princess, is extraordinary.
This effect is reminiscent of the delicacy of the mattress sculpted by Bernini for the antique statue of the Sleeping Hermaphrodite, which belonged to Scipione Borghese, reinterpreted in a neoclassical manner and then given to Napoleon. The portrait of Pauline Borghese is perhaps one of the best examples of Canova’s aesthetics. Palpitating and full of life, the statue is designed to be seen by walking around it. In fact, Canova designed his sculptures not only from a frontal point of view, but also from 360 degrees. For this reason, they could also rotate, while mirrors, placed in the space which housed them, allowed a simultaneous view of the different sides.
The artist’s working method: the secret of a team
Canova received an impressive number of commissions, which required considerable planning and organizational skills. In this sense, he was a true promoter of himself and an entrepreneur who created a well-prepared and particularly efficient team that followed a precise work program.
For Canova, the creation of a work was substantially divided into three stages: the initial phase of conception; the phase of transferring the plaster model into the marble sculpture; and the final phase, in which the artist makes the final interventions in which the creative process is resolved in a “sublimation.” Before completing the work, Canova made rapid sketches or notes on paper or canvas. At a later stage, he prepared small preparatory prototypes in clay, using a load-bearing skeleton, consisting of an iron rod of the same height as the sculpture, tied in turn with small metal rods with wooden crosses at the ends. As Canova himself wrote, this method enabled him “to make the clay hold up even in very large models, and for figures that are not vertical,” allowing him to assess proportions, luminous qualities and the way the sculpture would live and breathe in space.
The complex method of work is reported in a passage from the memoirs of the painter Francesco Hayez: “Canova made his model in clay; then he cast it in plaster and entrusted the block to his young students so that they could carve it, and then the work of the great master began. […] They would bring the master’s works to such a degree of finish that they would be said to be finished: but they still had to leave a small thickness of marble, which was then worked on by Canova more or less according to what this illustrious artist believed should be done. The studio consisted of many rooms, all full of models and statues, and everyone was allowed to enter these rooms. Canova himself had a secluded room, closed to visitors, into which only those who had obtained special permission could enter. He wore a sort of dressing-gown, and wore a paper cap on his head; he always kept his hammer and chisel in his hand, even when he received visitors; he talked while working, and at times interrupted his work, turning to the people with whom he was conversing.”
Canova therefore delegated the initial execution of the work to his collaborators, translating his model into marble. The development is complex and well documented. As the sculptor Leopoldo Cicognara wrote in his Storia della scultura, Canova reserved for himself the final finishing touches: “The last hand […] forms the most interesting part of the art, and it is precisely that which pushes the work to its most exquisite perfection, marking the last impermeable line which in this extreme surface sublimely conceals the highest mastery, and after the quality of the concept forms the true excellence of the work.”
Canova took care to eliminate any possible imperfections, completing the statue with the final, decisive touches, followed by the intervention of the polisher, who smoothed the surfaces, giving them a diaphanous luster, so that the beauty of the marble would be captivating. Canova then applied to the marble, as a finish, acqua di rota, the water used to cool the irons while they were being ground on the grindstone, which gave the surface a greater shine. Finally, the artist applied a special patina to the skin of the statue, so as to simulate the complexion, giving the works the warmth of life. Thus we are struck by the perfection of the forms and at the same time by the sensuality they radiate. We are far from the cold rigidity of many neoclassical sculptures, icy and immobile in their pedantic interpretation of the ancient.
In this way, the artist’s initial intuition led to the contemplation of the final pure form. The relationship with the classical world is therefore not limited to an exterior revival of iconographic motifs. The ancient world constituted a horizon of meaning, a world of unsurpassed perfection, which the artist re-read, “re-signifying” the dreams of his present time. The revival of antiquity did not imply a mechanical task of assembling elements: rather, it was necessary to enter into the spirit of antiquity, to grasp the secret of a beloved and longed-for beauty. As Canova wrote, “it takes more than stealing here and there from ancient pieces and piecing them together without judgment, to become a great artist. It is necessary to study day and night Greek exemplars, to invest oneself with their style, to get it into one’s mind, to make it one’s own by always keeping an eye on beautiful nature and reading the same maxims.”
Canova and the spoliations of Napoleon
In the meantime Napoleon continued his conquest of the peninsula. No effective resistance to the French invasion seemed possible. Canova watched helplessly as Rome was occupied (1808) and the Papal States were annexed to the French Empire. Despite this affront, in 1810 the artist went to Paris, where General Duroc commissioned a statue of the Empress Marie Louise, the future Duchess of Parma. Returning to Italy, Canova visited Milan, Bologna and Florence, where he addressed a letter to the art critic and architectural theorist Quatremère de Quincy (1755-1849), to whom he confided: “Know that the Emperor has had the kindness […] to invite me to move to Paris to be with His Majesty forever, if I consent. So I wish at the moment, to thank the sovereign’s munificence for so much kindness that deigns to honor me, and to beg his grace to remain in my studio and in Rome, in my usual habits, in my climate outside of which I would die, to myself, and to my art. I come therefore to make the portrait of the Empress, and not for anything else, hoping that His Majesty will be generous in leaving me in my tranquil situation, where I have so many works, colossi, statues and studies, that absolutely want my person, and without which I could not live a single day.”
It was only after the defeat at Leipzig (1813), when Napoleon’s fortunes had suffered a seemingly total reverse, that Canova was commissioned to go to Paris to recover the works of art that had been transferred following the Treaty of Tolentino. In spite of resistance from the French and Russians, thanks to the interest of Klemens von Metternich, the Austrian diplomat at the center of European politics at the time, Canova succeeded in obtaining the return of most of the works. Returning to Rome on the evening of January 3, 1816, he was received by the pope who, as a sign of gratitude for having recovered the stolen masterpieces, named him “Marquis of Ischia [di Castro]” and inscribed him in the Libro d’oro del Campidoglio. As the coat of arms of the marquisate, Canova chose the lyre and the serpent, symbols of Orpheus and Eurydice respectively, “in memory of my first Statues […], from which […] I must recognize the beginning of my civil existence,” according to what he wrote in a letter to Falier.
The ‘Three Graces’: the triumph of grace and harmony
Meanwhile, in 1814, Josephine de Beauharnais, Napoleon’s first wife, commissioned from him the sculptural group of the Three Graces, which was to be reproduced a second time and destined for John Russell, Duke of Bedford. The work, one of Canova’s most famous, translates into marble the exquisitely neoclassical concept of the eternity of a serene and timeless, graceful and immortal beauty. This is ideal beauty, so well represented in the faces of the three maidens, which the poet Ugo Foscolo contemplated in the Hymn to the Graces, dedicated to Canova: “Come, Canova and sing the hymns… Perhaps (I hope) Oh creator of gods, / with me you will give new spirit to the Graces / for now by your hands they emerge from marble.”
As if it were a representation of beauty and goodness in the cosmic order, the whole composition here becomes grace and harmony. The refined spatial arrangement is outlined in an embrace between the three maidens animated by a light movement that proceeds from the crossing of the legs to the intense play of glances, from the graceful chasing of the arms to the rhythm created by the refined manner of dressing the hair. The sculpture radiates a subtle eroticism, helped by the light drapery that winds between the figures, in a sort of play between veiling and unveiling.
The Temple of Possagno and the death of Canova
Meanwhile, in 1818, urged by his fellow townsmen of Possagno to be involved in the fate of an old parish church in the village, Canova offered to have a new one built at his own expense. He erected a classical temple with a circular plan and a pronaos with Doric columns, taking the Pantheon in Rome as his model. The building was not completed until 1830, almost ten years after the artist’s death.
In the latter part of his life, Canova produced numerous works, such as the equestrian statue of Carlos III and one – only just begun – of Ferdinand I, for Piazza del Plebiscito in Naples. Canova died on October 13, 1822, in Venice. His remains were laid in a sepulcher in the Temple of Possagno that he had designed. His heart was placed in a porphyry vase in the artist’s funeral monument in the basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice.
During his lifetime, Canova achieved great success in Italy and throughout Europe. Not only that: during the Risorgimento he became the tutelary deity of an Italy that was about to be born. If at the beginning of the 20th century, in the face of the upheavals and protests of the avant-garde, he was considered a tired and cold imitator of the ancient, starting with the research of Hugh Honor and Mario Praz, from the middle of the century, he was gradually rediscovered and recognized as the leading exponent of neoclassicism.
Canova was considered as the trait d’union between the ancient world and contemporary sensibility, capable of imposing new aesthetic canons. In fact, he remains an extraordinary interpreter of his time. Probably, in a world in which everything seems to be called into question and art is fragmented into an infinite multiplicity of ephemeral aesthetic movements, the formal perfection, the harmony of his works, the search for an immortal beauty may constitute a new horizon toward which we can direct our gaze.
DOI: La Civiltà Cattolica, En. Ed. Vol. 6, no.11 art. 9, 1122: 10.32009/22072446.1122.9
. There are numerous studies on Antonio Canova. Some examples are: G. C. Argan, Antonio Canova, Rome, Bulzoni, 1969; Id., L’ arte moderna. Dall’illuminismo ai movimenti contemporanei, Florence, Sansoni, 1988; M. Praz, Gusto neoclassico, Milan, Rizzoli, 1990; H. Honour – P. Mariuz (eds), Edizione nazionale delle opere di Antonio Canova, Rome, Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, 1994; R. Varese, Canova. Le tre Grazie, Milan, Electa, 1997; G. Pavanello – G. Tormen, Antonio Canova, Rome, Gruppo editoriale L’Espresso, 2005; G. Cricco – F. Di Teodoro, Il Cricco Di Teodoro. Itinerario nell’arte. Dal Barocco al Postimpressionismo. Versione gialla, Bologna, Zanichelli, 2012; F. Piscopo, Echi canoviani, Crespano del Grappa (Vi), 2016; Id., Bianca Milesi. Arte e patria nella Milano risorgimentale, ibid., 2020; M. L. Putti, Canova. Vita di uno scultore, Rome, Graphofeel, 2020.
. Today at the Correr Museum in Venice.
. M. F. Apolloni, Canova, Florence, Giunti, 1992, 6.
. Musée du Louvre, Paris.
. Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, Geneva.
. National Gallery of Modern Art, Rome.
. Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg.
. Cf. G. Cricco – F. Di Teodoro, Il Cricco Di Teodoro…, op. cit., 1406f.
. Today it is preserved in the Pitti Palace in Florence.
. Cf. M. Missirini, Vita di Antonio Canova, Rome, Universitalia, 2016, 117-119.
. U. Foscolo, The Graces, First Hymn, al vago rito / vieni, o Canova, e agl’inni. […] / Forse (o ch’io spero!) artefice di Numi, / nuovo meco darai spirto alle Grazie / ch’or di tua man sorgon dal marmo.