Exhibitions - Galleria Borghese

Roma - Borghese Gallery
from 18th October 2007 to 3rd February 2008
Ten major exhibitions in ten years: 50 masterpieces showing the divine beauty that transformed marble into living flesh, with the sponsorship of Enel, Compagnia di San Paolo and AAMS.
The most beautiful Villa in the world as the Galleria Borghese is still known by many today is proud to host a monographic exhibiton of the sublime art of Antonio Canova in celebration of the 250th anniversary of his birth and the bicentenary of the universlly acclaimed Paolina Bonaparte as Venere Vincitrice.
Canova and La Venere Vincitrice, is an exhibition curated by Anna Coliva and Fernando Mazzocca and organised by Mondomostre. Following the success of the Raffaelo exhibition last year, it is the second in this series of ten large monographic exhibtions in as many years, each one focusing on a single artist whose unremovable masterpieces are still maintained at the Gallery.
The exhibition aims to illustrate the complex relationship between Canova and Prince Camillo Borghese, and between Canova and the Bonaparte family, for whom Canova developed the particular typology of the glorified sculpture portrait; through the extraordinary assembled collection of fifty other works from museums worldwide, it demonstrates at the same time the constant re-interpretation on the theme of Venus that continued to the end of the 18th Century. Other works in marble, drawings, tempera paintings, monochrome pictures, paintings, clay objects, plaster casts to thoroughly illustrate Canova’s working method.
The divine images of beauty, associated with Adonis, Cupid, the Graces, Apollo, to Paris and Helena, or simply per se, offer an exacting journey through the poetry of Canova that is at the same time an interpretation of the fascination of the anient times and pagan mythology, even if the Paolina Borghese Bonaparte as Venere Vincitrice in itself represents the result of Canova’s extrordinarily creativ journey.
The works on display will include 16 of the greatest marbles: the Three Graces from the Hermitage Museum of Saint Petersburg, the Naiade from the Metropolitan Museum of New York, the Sleeping Ninfa from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the Venere from the Leeds City Art Gallery, the Italian Venere from the Galleria Palatina in Florence, Love and Psiche Stanti from the Louvre, Paris, portrait of Princess Leopoldina Esterhazy Liechtenstein from the Esterhazy Castle of Eisenstadt in Austria and the Tersicore fom the Magnani Rocca di Parma Foundation.
For the first time in Italy, the series will be completed by the Amorini: Amonorino Lubormirski (1786-88) from the Lancut Castle, Poland, Amorino Campbell (1787-89) from Anglesey Abbey in Cambride, Amorino Latouche (1789) from the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin and Amorino Yussopuv (1793-97-97), the only alato, from the Hermitage, Saint Petersburg.
This exhibition at the Galleria Borghese is the first ever that Rome has dedicated to Canova, but it will also be the first in which one of the worlds most celebrated sculptures - La Paolina - takes its rightful pride of place - as an unmoveable icon of the Galleria Borghese created by Canova after the sale to Napoleon by Prince Camillo Borghese, of the famous collection of antiques which now forms the nucleus of the Greco-Roman collection at the Louvre.
Visitors to the exhibition will be taken on a journey of Canova’s breath-taking masterpieces aside other great works by which he was clearly inspired. As such, in amongst the dialogue between the statues of Canova, the masterpieces of Bernini and ancient marbles, the exhibition re-creates the environment akin to that which would have existed in 1808. And show just how Canova impacted not just sculptural creation in the first decades of the 19th Century but introduced beautyand sensuality to painting too, perhaps best illustrated by Titian's Venus or the Danae of Correggio.
Recognised as one of the modern classicists, Canova's oeuvre was likened to the perfectionism of ancient times, to the point where at the display of un-captioned Canova's sculptures for the the Salon of 1808 at the Musée Napoleon - now known as the Louvre - they were indeed confused with original classics displayed in the neighbouring salon.
This exhibition, in the celebrated Galleria Borghese, thus pays homage to the importance of Canova the artist, as well as his importance to the collection itself; Canova had tried to oppose the sale of the famous collection from Camillo Borghese to Napoleon for what that collection mean to him (Hermaphrodite's bed, for example, could well be seen as a model for the Paolina), and indeed, in recognition of his efforts, was employed in the recovery of Italian works as the Inspector of the Art collection of the Church.


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