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  • Posts Tagged ‘Canova’


    Friday, March 18th, 2022
    Antonio Canova (Possagno 1757-1822 Venice) – Maddalena Giacente (Recumbent Magdalene) marble, 1819-1822. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    Antonio Canova’s (1757-1822) Maddalena Giacente (Recumbent Magdalene) 1819-1822, the Italian titan’s lost masterpiece completed shortly before his death, will be a highlight at Christie’s during Classic Week in London this summer. The sculpture of Mary Magdalene in a state of ecstasy was commissioned by the Prime Minister of the day, Lord Liverpool (1812-1827). Scholars have searched for the work for decades. In November 1819 Thomas Moore, the Irish poet and lyricist, recorded that Canova: “took me to see his last Magdalen, which is divine: she is lying recumbent in all the abandonment of grief; and the expression on her face and the beauty of her figure … are perfection”. The sculpture passed to Lord Liverpool’s brother and after his death it came up at Christie’s in 1852. It was acquired by Lord Ward whose son sold it at a moment of personal tragedy to the carpet manufacturer Sir Herbert Smith. The attribution to Canova seems to have been lost at this stage. It changed hands as a “classical figure” in 1938 and was purchased by Violet van der Elst, a campaigner who was instrumental in bringing about the abolition of the death penalty in England. It was in the garden in her house at Addison Road, Kensington and was sold with the house several times. In 2002 it was sold in a garden statuary sale and the attribution to Canova has only been established recently. It is now estimated at £5,000,000-8,000,000.  The earliest known photograph of the marble was taken in 1857 at the Manchester Art Treasures exhibition which was opened by Prince Albert.


    Monday, February 18th, 2019

    The Canova casts at the Crawford Gallery in Cork.

    Restored Canova casts have gone on display in a re-vamped setting against a blue ground at the Crawford Gallery in Cork. The casts were a gift from Pope Pius VII to the Prince Regent, later George IV, as thanks to Britain for returning masterpieces looted by Napoleon. The Prince gifted them to the people of Cork in 1819 and about a dozen of the original gift survive today.

    Among them is a cast of the Apollo Belvedere, busts of Jupiter and Socrates, the goddess Concordia and Laocoon and his sons.  The casts have long been on display but they were conserved over the past two years by Eoghan Daltun in a project funded by the Heritage Council.

    Crawford Art Gallery Director Mary McCarthy says the gallery is seeing an unprecedented period of growth with over 230,000 visitors last year. She said the casts are much loved in Cork and nationally and she is very confident that people will come back to see “the old friends”.  A 22 million capital investment programme is to begin at the gallery soon.


    Sunday, July 8th, 2018

    The story behind this long lost Canova painting from London Art Week goes back to Rome in 1792.  Prince Abbondio Rezzonico, a patron of Canova, presented a self portrait by Giorgione, the 16th century Venetian painter, to a group of assembled artists then in Rome including Angelica Kauffman, Gavin Hamilton, Antonio Cavallucci, Giovanni Volpato and others.  All agreed it was an authentic self portrait.

    One year later Canova revealed that he was in fact the painter of the self portrait of Giorgione. The portrait was on a 16th century panel of the Holy Family.  Canova, best known now as a sculptor, was also a skilled painter but he seemed to regard painting as a hobby and rarely sold any of his works.  The story of the fake was known, but the painting was long thought to have been lost.  It was discovered during a valuation in Rome in 2016 and is now on the market in London for one million pounds.