Antonio Canova ( 1757 – 1822 ) In 1770, Canova was an apprentice to Giuseppe Bernardi, aka ‘Torretto’ and Giovanni Ferrari until he began his studies at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia.At the Academy, he won several prizes. And was given his first workshop within a monastery.
The Senator Giovanni Falier commissioned Canova to produce statues of Orpheus and Eurydice for his garden – the Villa Falier at Asolo, and were exhibited for the Piazza S. Marco. His work won Canova his first renown among the Venetian elite.
In 1780 we went to Rome and studied and sketched the works of Michelangelo.
By 1800, Canova was the most celebrated artist in Europe, acquiring patrons from across Europe including France, England, Russia, Poland, Austria and Holland, as well as several members from different royal lineages. Among his patrons were Napoleon and his family, including: Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker, and Venus Victrix which was portrayal of Pauline Bonaparte.
In 1815, he was named ‘Minister Plenipotentiary of the Pope’ and was tasked with recovering various works of art that were taken to Paris by Napoleon.
In 1816 Canova returned to Rome and was appointed President of the Accademia di San Luca, inscribed into the “Golden Book of Roman Nobles” by the Pope’s own hands,and given the title of Marquis of Ischia, alongside an annual pension of 3000 crowns.
Upon his death, his body was placed in the Tempio Canovianoand his heart was interred at the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice, and his right hand preserved in a vase at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia.
His memorial service was so grand that it rivaled the ceremony that the city of Florence held for Michelangelo in 1564.