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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 sculpture Venus and Adonis was created by Antonio Canova between 1789 and 1794, commissioned by the Marquis Francesco Berio, who placed it in a small temple expressly made in the garden of his palace in Naples. On the death of the Marquis, the work was purchased at the suggestion of Canova himself by Colonel Guillaume Favre. It is currently located in Geneva at the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire. The artist, once again, chooses a subject belonging to Greek mythology. Adonis, the result of the incestuous union between Myrrh and his father Cinira, was born from the shrub into which the mother had been transformed, condemned to eternal pain. Growing up, the young man achieved such a rare beauty that even Venus fell in love with him. The passion of the boy, who grew up in the woods, has always been hunting and despite the constant warnings of his beloved, he did not give up on it. It is said that the goddess tried in every way to dissuade him, to save him from danger, to defend him from the attack of wild beasts. But, as prophesied, a boar, during a hunting trip, bit him and killed him. The moment chosen by the artist is that of the farewell, which will turn out to be the foretold and last goodbye, the instant before the atrocious destiny is fulfilled. It is not the moment of maximum pathos of the story, but the one that anticipates it, thus creating, according to the neoclassical canons, a state of absolute rigor and balance. The work can be considered his masterpiece in the "delicate and gentle" genre, in which Winckelmann's conception of grace and ideal beauty, endorsed by the artist, is expressed to the highest degree. The predominant figure of the sculptural group is the male one, taller, on which Venus rests as if it were a column. The dart that the protagonist holds with his right hand is the one he will use to face the beast, even if in the myth it is not specified which weapon it really was. His expression is dominated by a slight melancholy, but also by a faint smile as if he wanted to reassure the goddess by holding her with a tender hug. Venus is completely stripped of her divine being and is perceived as a mere human creature. She is a woman worried by the presentiment of what might happen, immersed in a sense of protection that manifests itself in a very sweet and delicate caress on the face of the beloved. The dog at their feet, rendered with singular naturalistic perspicuity, recalls hunting. Its rough coat creates a sharp contrast with the smooth skin of the two characters. A scene outside myth and stardom, therefore, belonging to earthly love.

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