Frari: Tomb of Canova
The tomb of the sculptor Antonio Canova (1757-1822), the last great hero of neo-classicism, takes the form of a monumental pyramid. It was modelled on the master's own design for a never-realised memorial to Titian and created by six of his own pupils.
Domenico Fadiga created the pyramid, while Antonio Bosa carved the medallion of Canova, framed by two spirits. The portrait is encircled by a snake, a symbol of immortality. Luigi Zandomeneghi carved the two weeping women on the right, who represent Painting and Architecture. Bartolomeo Ferrari was tasked with carving Sculpture, the woman in the centre, cloaked, veiled and carrying an urn. Rinaldo Rinaldi carved the torch-carrying 'Genietto' and the sleeping lion, while Giuseppe Fabris carved languorous, winged figure of Genius.
On seeing Canova's tomb, John Ruskin was driven to write: 'The tomb of Canova, by Canova, cannot be missed; consummate in science, intolerable in affectation, ridiculous in conception, null and void to the uttermost in invention and feeling.'
The tomb contains Canova's heart; his body is buried in Possagno, the place of his birth.
Copyright © David Lown 2001-2016. All rights reserved.