During the Great War, Pietro Canonica saw the collapse of the world he had learned to count on: aristocracy. Born in Moncalieri, in the province of Turin, in 1869, before the war he had added artistic beauty to the most illustrious courts in Europe: all the most important noble families of the continent, from the British royals to the Russian tsars, had commissioned him busts and portraits – in which they could see their most intimate identity take shape with elegance and realism.
Perhaps the event that in Canonica’s eyes sanctioned the irreparable ruin of this world was the destruction of his statue of Nicholas II, the last Emperor of Russia, by the Bolshevik revolutionaries.
However, not even that could stop his creative activity: he continued to take part in the most important national and international exhibitions, and was a renowned academic worldwide, as well as a composer of operas and, from 1950, a senator of the Italian Republic for life.
After he settled in Rome, in 1926 the Capitoline city gave him “Fortezzuola”, a beautiful mansion in the green area of Villa Borghese, where he lived until his death in 1959.
This is where the Pietro Canonica Museum has opened, to display the collection of marbles, bronzes, original models, sketches, studies and replicas by the Piedmontese artist, as well as his private home (finely furnished and decorated with works of art) and his atelier.