Antonio Canova


Italian  Neoclassical  Sculptor and Painter of the Roman School

Artistically and Stylistically Influenced by the Following Painters - Giuseppe Torretto, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Leonardo DeVinci

Education - learned to the basics of sculpture from Giuseppe Torretto and later Torretto at Bassano

Cause of Death - typhoid fever in Venice, Italy

Biography of The Artist

Antonio Canova is considered the greatest sculptor of the Neoclassical era. He began his education at the Venetian workshop of Giuseppe Bernardi Torreto, who stressed the dramatic Baroque style. Canova later became captivated by the writings of Winckelmann, who championed a return to the gracious order and serene dignity of Greek and Roman Art.

Cupid and Psyche are considered Canova's finest works. His compositions were based on smooth rhythmic lines, the harmony of figures and refined gestures, creating an atmosphere of lighthearted decorativeness.

The period is called neoclassical because its artists looked back to the art and culture of classical Greece and Rome.   The spread of Neoclassical Art was primarily inspired by recent roman archeological excavations, including Pompeii and by art historian Johann Joachim Winckelmann. Winckelmann touted the homoeroticism of Greco-Roman art, "beauty is rather male than female. But the beauty of art demands a higher sensibility than the beauty of nature, because the beauty of art, like tears shed at a play, gives no pain, is without life, and must be awakened and repaired by culture. Now, as the spirit of culture is much more ardent in youth than in manhood, the instinct of which I am speaking must be exercised and directed to what is beautiful, before that age is reached, at which one would be afraid to confess that one had no taste for it. His enthusiastic descriptions of art from Classical Antiquity encouraged an interest in Greek antiquities.

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References -  Richard Muther, The History of Modern Painting, Henry and Co., London, 1896