Exactly 200 years ago, on October 13th 1822, the great Neoclassical sculptor Antonio Canova died, a few weeks shy of his sixty-fifth birthday.
Canova was born in Possagno, which lies 60 km north-west of Venice, but he lived
and worked for many years in Rome.
Venus Victrix (1805-8), in the Galleria Borghese, is one of Canova's most famous works. The sculpture is, in fact, a portrait of Princess Paolina Borghese (1780-1825), the sister of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Princess Paolina is portrayed as Venus, the victor in the judgement of Paris, as shown by the apple she is holding in her left hand.
Canova wanted to be buried in the Pantheon, but he was denied permission. He is interred in the Tempio Canoviano, a parish church in Possagno, which he helped design and largely funded.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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