Monday, 3 January 2011

Canova App for i-Phone

The i-Canova app, launched in November 2010, is a virtual visit to the Canova Museum in Possagno  and constitutes a comprehensive guide to the museum, accessible with a few touches on an i-Phone or i-Pad screen.

Downloadable directly from the Apple AppStore, the application tells the story of the artist's life, describes the places where he worked, and presents his most important works displayed in landscape mode, in the picturesque setting of the Possagno museum, with the ability to access more detailed information on each work.

The Canova Museum in Possagno thus becomes the first museum in the Veneto region to develop a dedicated i-Phone App, fully functional and ready to use on the new i-Pad platform.

Possagno is the birthplace of the great neoclassical sculptor Antonio Canova (1757-1822). The museum and gypsotheque, opened in 1836, houses original plaster casts of most of his great sculptures, along with terracotta models, drawings and paintings.

Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), Portrait of Antonio Canova
Museo Canova, Possagno
Antonio Canova was born in Possagno (near Treviso), about 80 km from Venice, on November 1, 1757: at age four he lost his father, Pietro Canova, and his mother, Angela Zardo, was remarried soon after to Francesco Sartori and moved to the Crespano area, but Antonio remained in Possagno with his grandfather Pasino Canova, a stonemason and sculptor of local renown. These events marked Antonio Canova's sensibility for life. From an early age, he showed a natural inclination for sculpture, making small pieces with the clay of Possagno; it is said that at the age of six or seven, at a dinner of Venetian nobles in a villa in Asolo, he created a lion in butter with such skill that all the guests were astonished. The host, the Venetian Senator Giovanni Falier, recognised Antonio's artistic talents and undertook to oversee his study and training.

In 1768, Canova began working in the Torretti workshop in Pagnano d'Asolo, not far from Possagno: this environment was for little Antonio (whom everyone called "Tonin") a real school of art. The Torretti introduced him to the Venetian world, full of cultural and artistic ferment. In Venice, Canova frequented the classes at the Accademia on drawing from the nude, drawing inspiration from the collection of plaster casts in the gallery of Filippo Farsetti. After leaving the Torretti studio, he started his own workshop, and created the first works that made him famous in Venice and the Veneto: Orpheus and Euridice (1776), and Daedalus and Icarus (1779).

Unofficial video of the Gypsotheque in Passagno (slightly fixated on male posteriors):

Hercules and Lichas
Gipsoteca, Passagno
In 1779, Canova made his first trip to Rome, where he made his finest works (from the Three Graces to Cupid and Psyche, from the Funerary Monuments of Popes Clement XIII and XIV and Marie-Christine of Austria to the many mythological subjects, such as Venus and Mars, Perseus with the head of the Medusa, and Hector and Ajax) and where his patrons were kings, princes, popes and emperors from all over the world. In Rome, he stayed at the Palazzo Venezia, home of the Venetian ambassador Gerolamo Zulian, who was a great patron of Venetian artists such as Novelli, Selva, Quarenghi, Piranesi, Morghen and Volpato. Zulian secured Canova his first commissions in Rome, and commissioned from him directly Theseus and the Minotaur (1781) and Psyche (1793).

While there he met Domenica Volpato, daughter of the engraver Giovanni, with whom he had a troubled relationship. His reputation was growing in Italy and abroad; he received new and challenging commissions from all over Europe. Soon his art, modelled on the techniques of the ancient Greeks, from drawing to clay, from plaster to marble, developed into a formidable body of work, growing ever closer to the themes of classical mythology. "I work all day like a beast," he wrote to his friend Cesarotti, "but it is also true that I spend most of the day listening to volumes on Homer being read to me."

Orpheus and Eurydice
Museo Correr, Venice
The arrival of Napoleon on the European political scene (he was crowned emperor in 1804) led to a fertile period of artistic production for Canova (the Napoleon at Apsley House and other Napoleonic busts, the marble Letizia Ramolino, the famous Paolina at the Villa Borghese); at the same time he resisted the offer to become the official artist at the French Emperor's Court, and indeed in 1815, immediately after Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo, Canova was in Paris, with his half-brother Giovanni Battista Sartori: thanks to his skillful diplomacy numerous valuable works of art stolen by Napoleon were brought back to Italy from France. Pius VII, in recognition of his great efforts in defence of Italian art, gave him the title of Marquis of Ischia, with an annuity of three thousand crowns, which he wished to donate in support of art academies.

In July 1819, Canova was in Possagno to lay the foundation stone of the temple that he wanted to construct and donate to his community as a parish church: this majestic building would only be completed ten years after his death on October 13, 1822, in the house of his friend Francesconi in Venice. His body, at the behest of his half-brother, was first buried in the old parish church, and in 1832 transferred to the Temple.

Report by ArsLife on the 2009 Canova exhibition in Forli: Canova - The Classical Ideal in Sculpture and Painting:

Today in Possagno, visitors to the places known to Antonio Canova, the dining room, the garden, the arcade, the great pine tree he planted himself, the scuderia, the kitchen, the 'little tower" ... can still hear the locals speak of him, of his "holidays" devoted to painting, of the simple and rustic feasts his devoted countrymen held for him when he returned from Rome or Paris or Vienna, and immersed himself in the peace of his own countryside and his home.

Canova Museum, Passagno official website
Gallery of works in the Canova Museum in Passagno

Paolina Borghese as Venus Vinctrix
Galleria Borghese, Rome
Cupid and Psyche
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Perseus with the Head of the Medusa
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Daedalus and Icarus
Museo Correr, Venice
Theseus and the Minotaur
Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Tomb of Pope Clement XIII
Basilica of St Peter, Rome

1 comment:

  1. Interesting that you guide The i-Canova app is a virtual visit to the Canova Museum in Possagno and constitutes a comprehensive guide to the museum and which is accessible with iPhone.also I am very glad to know this aplication tells the story of the artist's life, describes the places where he worked.