Canova, Antonio

Canova, Antonio, one of the most celebrated sculptors of modern times, was born in the village of Possagno, near Trevigi, Nov. 1, 1757. He lost his father when three years old, but the family had long followed the vocation of stone- carvers, and the youth had cultivated an artistic taste; and after some preliminary training he was sent by the Venetian government to complete his studies in Rome; for which purpose he was granted a pension of three hundred ducats per annum for three years. This judicious liberality was the indirect cause of Canova's settling in Rome, and his studies there eventually in a great measure contributed to the revival of the arts in the 19th century. His first work of note was the group of Theseus and the Minotaur; this was succeeded by the great monuments to popes Clement XIII and( XIV, and Pius VI, which raised the reputation of Canova above that of all his contemporaries; the monument of Clement XIII is that in St. Peter's, of which the celebrated reposing lions form a part. Canova's works are extremely numerous,. and are singularly graceful, combining nature with classic beauty and proportion; his extraordinary ability, and perhaps industry also, are well displayed in the noble collection of casts after his works, preserved together in the academy at Venice, among which Hercules, in the tunic of Deianira, hurling Lichas into the sea from the rock, is a most imposing group. Some of his best works are preserved in the Vatican, as the Boxers, and many others; his celebrated Venus is in the Pitti Palace at Florence; The Three Graces are in England; at Apsley House is a colossal statue of Napoleon. Canova died at Venice, Oct. 12, 1822, and a magnificent design which he had made for a public monument to Titian was, with slight alterations, adapted, and in 1827 executed by some of his pupils in commemoration of his own memory; it is in the church of the Frari. A painting of the Descent from the Cross, which he executed for the church of his native village about 1800, shows how eminent he might have become in this branch of art. Canova was in every sense a most successful artist; his reputation is world-wide; he amassed great wealth, and was created marquis of Ischia by the pope. There is a portrait of him by Sir Thomas Lawrence. See Missirini, Vita di Antonio Canova (1824); also the Life of Canova, by Cignorara (1823), Rossini (1825), and D'Este (1864); Canova's Works, by Moses, etc.

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