You are here:  HomeArtists › Canova

Antonio Canova

Born: Possagno, 1 November 1757
Died: Venice, 13 October 1822
Nationality: Italian

son of stonecutter Pietro Canova


apprenticed to sculptor Giuseppe Bernardi (1770-74); briefly worked in the studio of Giovanni Ferrari; Accademia of Venice (1774)


1775 – second place at the Accademia with Wrestlers (Accademia, Venice)

1779 – member of Venetian Accademia with acceptance of Apollo (Accademia)

1792 – life pension awarded by Republic of Venice for stele for Admiral Angelo Emo (Naval History Museum, Venice)

1800 – member of Accademy of St Luke, Rome

1802 – appointed Inspector General of Antiquities and Fine Art of the Papal States by Pope Pius VII; responsible for acquiring works for the Vatican museums

1810 – president of Academy of Saint Luke

1814 – elected perpetual president of Academy of St Luke

1815 – recovers works of art removed from Italy during the Napoleonic Wars; named Marchese d’Ischia by Pius VII

1819-30 –builds church in Possagno that serves as his mausoleum and museum


Rome (1779); Pompeii, Herculaneum, Pasteum (1780)


Commissions from: 

Bonaparte family, Herzog Albrecht von Sachsen Teschen (husband of Maria Christina of Austria), Papal commissions, Ferdinand IV of Naples, Republic of Venice, Ludwig I (King of Bavaria)

Important Artworks: 

Cupid Awakening Psyche, 1783-93 (Louvre, Paris)

Paolina Borghese Bonaparte as Venus Victorious, 1804-08 (Borghese Gallery, Rome)

The Three Graces, 1812-16 (Hermitage, St Petersburg)

Tomb of Maria Christina of Austria, 1798 (Augustinian Church, Vienna)