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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 two protagonists competed at the Nemei games, that is the competitions that brought together athletes from all the cities of Greece every two years in the polis of Nemea: Creugante da Durazzo and Damosseno di Siracusa. Not being a winner, it was decided that each of the two remaining antagonists could deliver a single blow to the opponent and thus conclude the grueling duel. The former threw a punch, while the latter, pretending to give his rival a blow on the head, struck him with cruel force in the side, extracting his entrails and causing his death. The treacherous blow was punished with exile by the horrified judges, while a memorial statue was erected for the defeated in the temple of Jupiter Liceo in Arcadia. Creugante is firmly planted on his legs apart, he holds his right arm with his fist closed above his head, waiting for the opponent's blow. Almost instinctively she prepares for the answer and lends him her side. Damossenus protects his chest with his left arm, as if he wants to shield himself from it. The right hand is open and outstretched like a blade to deliver the killing blow. Its appearance is particularly brutal and aggressive. The look transmits inhumanity and ferocity; a violent, ruthless expression and a manifest hatred are drawn on the face. The statues are made according to muscular tensions of considerable plastic suggestion, enclosing in the pose a decisive and snappy physical energy and a typical grandeur of athletes. In fact, it is perceptible a pleased desire to show off a perfectly acquired anatomical science, the result of a daily graphic exercise halfway between private pleasure and severe discipline. Conceived in the same period in which the sculptor conceived the group of Hercules and Lica, the Pugilatori belong to the phase of maximum expressive tension in Canova's production, arriving at unprecedented solutions of heroism and titanic celebration of strength. Avoiding any suspended fixity of action, typical of classical art, he tried to represent the instantaneous act, synthesizing a conceptual and gestural complexity in a single image. Plaster casts of Creugante were sent by the artist to the main academies of Europe so that connoisseurs and amateurs of fine arts could admire and evaluate, according to the sculptor's words, one of his "works of stronger character, since so far they have not seen any a sweet and delicate style ». Conceived without commission, it was then purchased by Pope Pius VII in 1801 for the Vatican Museums (hence the inscription at the base "CVRA PII VII") to compensate for the void left by the ancient masterpieces brought to France by the armies. The statue of Damossenus, on the other hand, was commissioned by the papal government after the purchase of his companion, to be placed next to him in 1806.

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