The plastic form does not represent figure, but sublimates it, transforms its essence. It immerses and isolates it in real space and, by isolating it, idealize it: take it from Antonio Canova, the unparalleled artistic genius who was able to transform marble into live flesh, shaping absolute masterpieces. With obvious connections to classicism and careful eye to the future, as a sculptor he was described by critics as “the last of the ancients or the first of the moderns”.
Now, for the first time, his works will be showcased at the National Archeological Museum of Naples for “Canova e l’antico” (Canova and Antiquity), opening next 28 March 2019. The exhibition is born in collaboration with the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, which has the largest collection in the world of Canova’s works. Until 30 June, Naples will showcase “The Winged Cupid”, “Cupid and Psyche”, “Hebe”, The Dancer with Her Hands on Her Hips”, “The Head of the Genius of Death” and Canova’s famous masterpiece, “The Three Graces”.
The exhibition will display twelve imposing marble art pieces, as well as over 110 casts, bas-reliefs, models and drawings – including 34 tempera on paper inspired by paintings in Pompeii, found in the house where the sculptor was born – and a few larger plaster casts, such as “Theseus and the Minotaur” and “The Sleeping Endymion”.