Antonio Canova (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: Canova fixed the ideal style in neoclassical sculpture for generations. His works were considered the standard of international artistic excellence in his day and his name and opinion held great authority.
Antonio Canova was born on November 1, 1757, in Possagno, to Angela and Pietro Canova. In 1761, at age twenty-six, Pietro, a stonemason, died. In 1762, Angela remarried and moved to a village west of Possagno, leaving young Antonio in the care of Pasino Canova, his paternal grandfather, who was also a stonemason. In 1768, Antonio was apprenticed to Giuseppe Bernardi, known as Torretti, in nearby Pagnano. He received his first formal lessons in this active studio which manufactured garden sculpture. There, Canova would have absorbed proficiency in handling stone, in efficient delegation to specialized assistants of the various mechanical steps in the production process, and in the administration of the technical and financial aspects of a studio.
In autumn of 1768, Torretti took the young Canova to his other studio in Venice. For the first time Canova was able to study Greco-Roman sculpture in private Venetian collections. He also studied the collections of plaster casts in the palace of Filippo Farsetti and frequented the academy. In 1770, Senator Giovanni Falier, who had shown an interest in Canova’s work, commissioned two baskets of fruit in stone and two life-size...
(The entire section is 2148 words.)
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