Thursday, March 23, 2023

Possagno - Museo e Gypsotheca Antonio Canova - Canova e Potere - La Collezione Giovanni Battista Sommariva

Possagno - Museo e Gypsotheca Antonio Canova
Canova e Potere - La Collezione Giovanni Battista Sommariva

In the charming hillside town of Possagno, northwest of Venice, home to Antonio Canova, now the Museo e Gypsotheca Antonio Canova, the exhibition Canova e Potere - La Collezione Giovanni Battista Sommariva – until September 3 – was conceived by Vittorio Sgarbi and is co-curated by Elena Catra and Moira Mascotto, director of the museum.  Canova and Power - The Collection of Giovanni Battista Sommariva exhibition pays homage to the great maestro by reconstructing the prestigious relationships that the artist had with the greatest exponents of the political and the cultural panorama of the time, highlighting the indissoluble bond existing between art and power. Sought after and admired on an international scale, Canova had in fact as clients the most influential personalities of contemporary Europesovereigns, popes and nobles from the various European courts up to the United States of America.

Antonio Canova - Discobolo – Palamede - 1796

Pietro Bettelini – Giovan Battista Wicar – Palamede – fronte – 1804

 Co-curator Elena Catra

Thomas Lawrence - Portrait Antonio Canova - Possagno 1815 - Venice1819

The exhibition investigates for the first time the complex figure of Giovanni Battista Sommariva and his precious collection which included nine works, five of which are important marbles, by Canova himself as well as those by Francesco Hayez, Bertel Thorvaldsen and Pierre Paul Prud'hon, some of which are exceptionally gathered here for the occasion.


Andrea Appiani – Portrait of Giovanni Battista Sommariva – 1813

 Antonio Canova – Maddalena Penitente – 1795

Antonio Canova Maddalena Penitente - 1798-1799

Louis-Leopold Boilly  

Napoleon Granting the Legion d’Honneur to the Sculpture Pierre Cartellier at the Salon of 1808 – 1808

“I have favorably positioned your little Apollo in a salon in the form of a gallery which I have in my residence in Paris and where I have also placed my most beautiful paintings.”

Giovanni Battista Sommariva



Extraordinary is also the presence of the marble work depicting the Apollino, from the Collezioni Comunali d’Arte of Bologna, exhibited for the first time to the public in all its renewed beauty after the restoration supported by the Canova Museum and carried out by the Opificio delle Pietre Dure di Firenze. The paintings and sculptures from public and private collections, both national and international, also give prestige to the exhibition.

Antonio Canova – Apollino - 1797

Moira Mascotto

Co-curator and Director of the Museo Gypsotheca Antonio Canova

Antonio Canova – Amore e Psiche che si Abbracciano - 1787c.
Domenico Pellegrini – Ritratto di Filippo e Costanza De Marinis 
come Amore e Psiche – 1790

Alessandro Papafava – Lettere di Alessandro Papafava a Francesco Papafava – 24 marzo e 8 maggio – 1804

Francesca Papafava dei Carraresi 
and Marcello Zannoni

Pompeo Calvi – L’interno dello studio di Canova a Roma – 1880

Bartolomeo Paoletti – Cofanetto con 34 cammei in gesso opera di

Bertel Thorvaldsen e Antonio Canova – 1820-1830c.

Paolo Mariuz, Vittorio Sgarbi - President of the Museo e Gypsotheca Antonio Canova - and Amerigo Restucci

 Lunch Al Fresco
After the press preview, on the first day of Spring and on a beautifully sunny day lunch was served in the garden under a Pine tree, brought from Rome by Canova himself over two hundred years ago.

Filippo Canal, Martina Massaro, Roberto De Feo 

Paolo Mariuz

Paola Bonifacio and Fabio Zonta

The Cat’s Whiskers

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