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Antonio Canova Art Prints

Antonio Canova, (1 November 1757 – 13 October 1822) was born at Possagno, an obscure village situated amid the recesses of the hills of Asolo. His father and grandfather followed the occupation of stone-cutters or minor statuaries; and it is said that their family had for several ages supplied Possagno with members of that calling. In his ninth year he executed two small shrines of Carrara marble, which are still extant. The kindness of some local monks supplied Antonio with his first workshop, which was the vacant cell of a monastery. Here, for nearly four years he labored with the greatest perseverance and industry. He was also regular in his attendance at the academy, where he carried off several prizes. The work which first established his fame at Rome was “Theseus Vanquishing the Minotaur.” Simplicity and natural expression had hitherto characterized Canova's style; with these were now united more exalted conceptions of grandeur and of truth. The “Theseus” was regarded with fervent admiration. After five years of incessant labor, he completed another cenotaph, to the memory of Clement XIII, which raised his fame still higher. Works now came rapidly from his chisel. Amongst these is “Psyche,” with a butterfly, which is placed on the left hand, and held by the wings with the right. Numerous works were produced in the years 1795-1797, of which several were repetitions of previous productions. One was the celebrated group representing the “Parting of Venus and Adonis.”

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