This first exhibition to focus on Italian sculptor Antonio Canova’s lesser-known but unforgettable work in clay reveals how the artist developed his ideas—from the first brilliant spark of imagination to his laboriously finished statues.
Renowned for marble statues that convey a sense of ideal beauty with remarkable lifelikeness, Antonio Canova (1757–1822) was the most celebrated European artist of his time. This exhibition focuses on a less-familiar aspect of his production: his clay sketches.
Often produced at a lightning pace to capture his ideas, these works are in many ways the antithesis of his exquisitely finished marble sculptures. Visceral, expressive, and impressionistic, their surfaces visibly bear the pressing and pinching of the artist’s fingers, along with the gouges and scrapes of his tools.