(b. 1757, Possagno, d. 1822, Venezia)
The Three Graces Dancingc. 1799
Tempera on paper
Canova Museum, Possagno
Canova mentioned "various ideas on dances, the play between nymphs and cupids, muses, philosophers, etc., sketched exclusively for the artist's own study and enjoyment." There is little doubt he was referring to the tempera cycle at Possagno and similar sketches now in Bassano. Picking up the themes and techniques discovered in Herculaneum, Canova created brightly coloured mythological figures that stand out against the black background. These sketches are the forerunners of themes and figures he would later sculpt.
The picture shows a detail from a frieze.