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    Sale 7438

    19th Century European Art

    23 January 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 11

    Pompeo Calvi (Italian, 1806-1884)

    Canova in his studio

    Price Realised  

    Pompeo Calvi (Italian, 1806-1884)
    Canova in his studio
    signed 'P. Calvi' (lower left)
    oil on canvas
    47 x 38½ in. (119.5 x 97.2 cm.)

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    In the present lot Pompeo Calvi, no doubt well-versed in the oeuvre and the artistic manner of the master sculptor, depicts the studio of Antonio Canova, whose working method and models for his most important works can be seen in the present composition. Canova, the central figure, is working on a large clay model placed in the foreground. The clay group is the preparatory model for part of the monumental tomb of the daughter of the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, Duchess Maria Christina of Saxony-Teschen, executed 1798-1805 in carrara marble and placed in the Augustinians Church in Vienna (see fig 1). Canova often made his models in clay and then employed a number of workmen and pupils to carve his creation out of a block of marble.

    Next to an artist's model who is casually studying a drawing in the foreground, a well-dressed figure, possibly a patron, can be seen critically eyeing the sculptor at work. At the end of the 18th century Canova was considered the most important sculptor of Europe and his atelier was a tourist attraction in Rome. People queued for admission to the studio, which was crammed with model statues and floors were lined by flakes of marble.

    In the background of the present lot are other identifiable works such as a terracotta model for the famous Hercules and Lica, Venus Italica and a version of the Triumph of Perseus. Most notably, behind the clay model, a glimpse can be seen of Canova's most important work, Psyche revived by Cupid's kiss.

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    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium


    Anonymous sale; Finarte, Lugano, 8 May 1993, lot 28.

    Pre-Lot Text