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

Thre Graces

Marble, height 182 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

Canova's Neoclassicism is unusual in being free of both the scholarly quotation from ancient sources at the expense of plastic expressiveness (seen in Mengs and Thorvaldsen) and the loading of classical subjects and forms with contemporary ideas (found in David). The departure from the Greek schema, with two graces facing the viewer and the third looking away, seems dictated by the sculptor's striving to increase the complexity of the linear harmony and to fill the sculpture with a play of light, in which this last great Venetian has no equal.

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