The Canova Museum and Cast Gallery
In the Canova Museum and Cast Gallery in Possagno, in the province of Treviso, the famous sculptor’s paintings, terracotta preliminary models and drawings have a place to shine.
A visit here will give you a glimpse into the incredible precision the master of neoclassicism put in his work, painstakingly following a method that went from paper to marble, passing through clay and plaster. One particular item on display is a powerful clue of how meticulous he was: a pantograph, a tool that by using small brass nails as landmarks on the plaster cast allowed to transfer the exact measurements and proportions of the model onto marble.
Designed in 1836 – fourteen years after Canova’s death – by Francesco Lazzari, by will of the artist’s step-brother, Giovanni Battista Sartori, the Museum and Cast Gallery welcoms the works that had been in the sculptor’s studio in Rome.
In 1957, the great Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa expanded a wing of the gallery, in order to flood the casts with light.
Scarpa said, describing his endeavor, “Light was the problem I faced in improving the gallery: I had to deal with sculptures, not paintings, and not marble or wood sculptures but casts made of plaster, an amorphous material that is sensitive to bad weather and needs light, and therefore must be under the sun. And when the sun moves around a sculpture, it never has a negative effect…”
The effect here is absolutely positive. And Canova’s works have their place in the sun.