Exhibition | Canova’s George Washington

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on May 24, 2018

In February, we noted the exhibition (which opened at The Frick Collection yesterday), but the original posting did not include details for the catalogue, which is now available from Giles Ltd and Artbooks.com:

Xavier Salomon with Guido Beltramini and Mario Guderzo, Canova’s George Washington (London: Giles, 2018), 188 pages, ISBN: 9781911282174, $45.

In 1816, the North Carolina State House in Raleigh commissioned a full-length statue of George Washington to stand in the hall of the State Senate. Thomas Jefferson, believing that no American sculptor was up to the task, recommended Antonio Canova (1757–1822), then one of Europe’s most celebrated artists. The first and only work Canova created for America, the statue depicted the nation’s first president in ancient Roman garb, per Jefferson’s urging, drafting his farewell address to the states. It was unveiled to great acclaim in 1821, and people traveled from far and wide to see it. Tragically, only a decade later, a fire swept through the State House, reducing the statue to just a few charred fragments.

Canova’s George Washington examines the history of the artist’s lost masterpiece, probably the least well known of his public monuments. It brings together for the first time Canova’s full-sized preparatory plaster model (which has never left Italy), four preparatory sketches for the sculpture, and related engravings and drawings. The exhibition also includes Thomas Lawrence’s 1816 oil portrait of Canova, which, like the model and several sketches, will be on loan from the Gypsotheca e Museo Antonio Canova in Possagno, Italy, the birthplace of the artist.


Ian Wardropper, Director’s Foreword
Preface and Acknowledgments

Xavier F. Salomon, ‘The Boast and Pride of North America’: Antonio Canova’s George Washington
Mario Guderzo, The Classical Conception of Antonio Canova
Guido Beltramini, Jefferson, Italy, and Palladio

Photography Credits

Note (added 29 May 2018) — The original posting did not included the contents.

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