CANOVA, Antonio
(b. 1757, Possagno, d. 1822, Venezia)

Daedalus and Icarus

Marble, 200 x 95 x 97 cm
Museo Correr, Venice

The main work of Canova's early Venetian period was the Daedalus and Icarus, which aroused great admiration at the annual art fair in Venice and was also commercially successful. Still marked by a Baroque abundance of movement, the group shows two characters who, while relating to each other, form a stark contrast. On the one side is the almost childish carefree Icarus, full of anticipation of the forthcoming adventure, and the other the canny, shrewd father, an inventor and the mythological ancestor of all artists. In the thoroughly naturalistic representation of him and unflinching depiction of his aging physique, there is a strong element of portraiture. It has been convincingly suggested that Daedalus constitutes a portrait of Canova's grandfather.