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Antonio Canova - Venus with the mirror
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Antonio Canova - Venus with Faun
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Antonio Canova - Venus and Adonis
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Antonio Canova - The Graces
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Antonio Canova - Self portrait
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Antonio Canova - Cupid Lubomirski
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Antonio Canova - Creugante
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Antonio Canova - Theseus winner of the Centaur
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Antonio Canova - Love and Psyche
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Antonio Canova - Theseus on the Minotaur
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Antonio Canova - Dancer with hands on hips
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Antonio Canova - Dancer with her finger to her chin
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Antonio Canova - The surprise
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Antonio Canova - The Graces and Venus dance in front of Mars
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Antonio Canova - Paolina Borghese Bonaparte as the winning Venus
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Thomas Lawrence - Portrait of Antonio Canova
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Antonio Canova - Cephalus and Procris
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Antonio Canova - Venus and Mars
Antonio Canova - Venus with the mirror
Antonio Canova - Venus with Faun
Antonio Canova - Venus and Adonis
Antonio Canova - The Graces
Antonio Canova - Self portrait
Antonio Canova - Cupid Lubomirski
Antonio Canova - Creugante
Antonio Canova - Theseus winner of the Centaur
Antonio Canova - Love and Psyche
Antonio Canova - Theseus on the Minotaur
Antonio Canova - Dancer with hands on hips
Antonio Canova - Dancer with her finger to her chin
Antonio Canova - The surprise
Antonio Canova - The Graces and Venus dance in front of Mars
Antonio Canova - Paolina Borghese Bonaparte as the winning Venus
Thomas Lawrence - Portrait of Antonio Canova
Antonio Canova - Cephalus and Procris
Antonio Canova - Venus and Mars

Other works on display

Description

The sculptural group represents the contrasting and passionate love story between the god Eros and the beautiful, but earthly, Psyche. The two versions of Cupid and Psyche were commissioned to Antonio Canova just thirty years old by the Scottish colonel John Campbell. The first, sold to Gioacchino Murat, who transferred it to the castle of Compiègne, is now in the Louvre Museum. The second, sold by the client to Josèphine de Beauharnais, wife of Napoleon, was finally bought by Tsar Alexander I of Russia, who took it to the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. The work refers to the story contained in Apuleius's Asinus aureus. The fable represents the allegory of the soul who, eager to discover what is deliberately hidden from her, disobeys the prohibition of the gods, who force her to suffer severe punishment and atone for the guilt. The story offered numerous interpretations and ideas of inspiration for artists of all eras, especially during the neoclassical period. Although the work is based on the representation of two distinct subjects, even physically and technically these are composed as a single body, close to themselves and united by a posture that communicates complicity and deep intimacy. The couple of teenagers are in an upright position with their heads down, while the posture of the legs suggests that they are getting closer to each other. Young people have a very similar face, little characterized and the expression of both is serene and relaxed. The girl is perfectly frontal and vaguely covered only by a skirt; the artist found for her the possibility of reusing the pose already studied and happily found. He assumes an attitude of gentle innocence and holds the hand of Love, on which a butterfly rests delicately, holding it by the wings with his fingers. The little creature illustrates Canova's sensitivity in dealing with marble, and is a symbol of the soul that the girl gives to her beloved, but also a representation of the fragility and brevity of life. The expressive center of the whole composition is, in fact, the exquisitely fragile play of the hands that caress and protect it. Amore is naked, sliding his arm along the girl's neck and placing his cheek tenderly on her shoulder. Cupid, as a child or amorino, recurs many times in Canova's production. There is no reference to where the subjects are, embracing in a timeless place. The purity of the modeling, suggesting the formal ideality of ancient sculptures, actually makes the work absolutely modern in conception and iconography. The beauty of the group gives off an almost incorporeal meaning so admiring this embrace between the girl and the god deprived of the usual wings, cut by Venus, "the observer is moved not by their physical perfection, but by the spiritual feeling that the author has blown inside ".

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