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    Sale 7631

    Important European Furniture & Sculpture

    4 December 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 111

    A PAIR OF RECLINING TERRACOTTA LIONS

    AFTER ANTONIO CANOVA, ITALIAN, FIRST HALF 19TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A PAIR OF RECLINING TERRACOTTA LIONS
    AFTER ANTONIO CANOVA, ITALIAN, FIRST HALF 19TH CENTURY
    Each cast in two halves and on an integrally modelled rectangular plinth; each with a modern white-painted wood base; minor chips, losses and weathering
    67 in. (170 cm.) long, each (2)


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    The monumental terracotta lions offered here are based on one of the marble lions carved by Antonio Canova for the base of the tomb of Pope Clement XIII. Unveiled on 6th April 1792, this monument was one of the first, and most ambitious, neoclassical tombs in St Peter's Basilica, Rome. The two lions can be found flanking its entrance, with the one on the left depicted awake, and the other asleep, symbolically representing the Pope's energetic work and his moderation, respectively. This iconography evidently interested Canova and the lions, which are also emblematic of power, can be found on other tombs such as that of Francesco Pesaro, in the Museo Correr, Venice and the tomb of Maria Christina of Austria, in the Augustinekirche, Vienna (S. Androsov, M. Guderzo and G. Pavanello, Canova, Milano, 1976, nos. 118 and 134 respectively).

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