Canova’s eternal beauty – an exhibition in Rome
by Barbara Palladino
Open until 15 March 2020 in Palazzo Braschi, the “Canova. Eternal Beauty” exhibition celebrates Rome as the city that provided the great master with a creative breeding ground after he moved here in 1779. No less than 170 works are on display in 13 sections, which articulate Canova’s artistic journey; custom lighting solutions replicate the evocative and warm atmosphere in which Canova used to unveil his creations: using a torch, at night, at his atelier on Via delle Colonnette.
Loans from leading museums and collections in Italy and abroad contribute to telling this story – including the Vatican Museums, the Musée des Augustins in Toulouse, the Museo Correr in Venuce, the “Antonio Canova” Gypsotheca and Museum in Possagno and the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg – which is lending the famous “Dancer with her hands on her hips” you’ll see placed on a rotating base, to be fully admired thanks to various mirrors.
The huge number of sculptures Canova designed in Rome bear testimony to the affection he felt for the city, where he loved to get lost while studying wonders of the past. He noted in his “Travel journals” his deep admiration for Bernini’s “Apollo and Daphne” group, which he saw at Villa Borghese.
Now this exhibition showcases drawings, sketches, models and plaster casts that represent how the great artist related not only to the city of Rome, but also to the world of politics and literature; indeed, a small section is dedicated to his relationship with Vittorio Alfieri and his tragedy, “Antigone”.
The exhibition tells us about this great master of the past but also introduces us to cutting-edge technology, as Magister, in collaboration with Robotor, presents a full-scale reproduction of the “Cupid and Psyche” group: based on a 3D scan of the original sculpture at the Louvre in Paris, a machine carved the replica over 270 hours, from a 10-ton block of Carrara marble. The installation is complemented by a documentary on how the piece was made, and a video of the story of “Cupid and Psyche” by Apuleius, which pays homage to the author while inviting us all to reflect on the issues entailed in the reproduction of art.
Canova. Eternal Beauty
Museo di Roma at Palazzo Braschi
Piazza Navona, 2; Piazza San Pantaleo, 10