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

Hercules and Lichas

1795-1815
Marble, height 335 cm
Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Rome

Due to his international success, Canova had many commissions. He no longer had to rely on funerary monuments for large-scale work, but could concentrate instead on the highest ideal of the sculptor's profession at the time - the freestanding classical figure. These were often cast as revisions of classical statues. Enthusiasm for these works was such that Canova was often regarded as having surpassed the antique. His Hercules and Lichas, for example, was often preferred to the Farnese Hercules. It is in fact a work with a stricter profile, thus fitting in the more "primitive" concept of the 1790s.