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October 25, 2012 / TAB

Veneto- Possagno

     Like most people, my first exposure to Antonio Canova was in Rome. His works in St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums were breathtaking but the one that really impressed me was his sculpture of Pauline Bonaparte in the Galleria Borghese. It is always one of my first stops (after the Caravaggios). 

     Possagno is the birthplace of this artist and the small town is very proud of the connection. HIs birth home has been turned into a museum (Gipsotca) featuring his plaster casts with measuring pins for precise transfer to marble, drawings, marble and terracotta statues, and paintings. There is an exhibit of his clothing and tools and a reproduction of his studio. No photos inside, so you, like me, will have to make postcards do.


The main gallery rooms


Adonis crowned by Venus

 You can see the measuring points embedded in the plaster.

Venus and Mars

Theseus defeats the centaur

Hercules and Lichas

Daedalus and Icarus

In the garden of the house, fall colors were showing.

I had no problem visualizing one of these in a work by Canova.

     Canova designed a Temple with elements from the Parthenon, the Pantheon, and a Christian chapel to symbolize the three main phases of civilization. The front approach has the same aspect as the Parthenon, the inside dome takes its scale from the Pantheon, and the main altar is of Christian church design and contains his painting of “The Deposition”.  Canova died before the Temple was completed but his half brother continued the project and brought his body from Venice to be buried in the tomb in the Temple. His heart remains in Venice in the tomb he designed as a tribute to Titian in the Basilica  Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari.

     As you enter Possagno, the Temple stands out against the hillside and draws you close.

reminiscent of the Parthenon

elements of the Pantheon

there are 224 of these in 14 different styles

Canova’s creation of the world

creation of man

Pietà in bronze

Canova’s tomb

Self-Portrait of Canova

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