By Christopher M. S. Johns
The Venetian sculptor Antonio Canova (1757-1822) used to be Europe's so much celebrated artist from the tip of the ancien r?gime to the early years of the recovery, an period while the conventional dating among consumers and artists replaced enormously. Christopher M. S. Johns's refreshingly unique research explores a missed part of Canova's occupation: the consequences of consumers, patronage, and politics on his number of topics and demeanour of operating. whereas different artists produced artwork within the carrier of the nation, Canova resisted the blandishments of the political powers that commissioned his works.Johns makes use of letters, diaries, and biographies to set up a political character for Canova as somebody and an artist of overseas attractiveness. notwithstanding he had consumers as different because the pope, Napoleon, the Austrian Hapsburgs, the Prince Regent of significant Britain, and the Republic of Venice, Canova remained progressively hired and did so with out controversy. A conservative and a Catholic, he devised a method that enabled him to paintings for purchasers who have been avowed enemies whereas last real to the cultural and inventive historical past of his Italian native land. utilizing delusion and funerary photographs and fending off portraiture, he disguised the meanings at the back of his works and hence shunned their being pointed out with any political purpose.Johns significantly complements our realizing of Canova's position in eu paintings and political background, and in exhibiting the effect of censorship, reveal, visible narrative, and propaganda, he highlights concerns as contentious this present day as they have been in Canova's time.
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Extra resources for Antonio Canova and the politics of patronage in revolutionary and Napoleonic Europe
But none of the works published presents a sustained study of the sculptor's career in relation to his patrons and contemporary politics, an approach that has dominated the study of French art during the same era. This book attempts to fill this gap in our understanding of an artist whose work is crucial for evaluating the European, and not just the French, conjunction of art and politics during the revolutionary and Napoleonic period. Page 4 One of the reasons Canova's politics have attracted less scholarly attention from art historians than those of, say, Jacques-Louis David is that the Venetian sculptor scrupulously avoided any court post and refused to work exclusively for one set of politically cohesive patrons.
It is true that the French employed conservation and restoration measures different from those used elsewhere, but the vituperative and self-congratulatory rhetoric on both sides of the issue smacks of mere cultural propaganda5 The warmth of the Italian reaction did much to counteract the initial French charges that the works were shamefully neglected while in Italy, and of course the Italians claimed that much damage had been done to the pictures by their removal from Italy, French claims to the contrary notwithstanding.
Moreover, the political influence accompanying cultural preeminence, thoroughly understood in the eighteenth century, may be less comprehensible today. In the contest between Rome and Paris, Canova was an undisguised partisan of the former, believing it the cradle of the arts and Western culture and the only context in which Page 12 artists, especially sculptors, could realize their potential. Even as a young artist in Rome, Canova had no favorable opinion of French taste in the arts, and he saw French hegemony in Europe as deleterious to Rome and Italy.