Name Date Month 2012 Antonio Canova’s Design Principles, Technique, and Media Antonio Canova was one of the most famous Italian sculptors of Classicism. Canova was born in 1757 in small village, near Treviso. He was a son of the poor stonemason…
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During his life, Canova gained the reputation of one of the most significant sculptors of his time. His contemporaries did not regret strong epithets to describe their admiration of Canova’s talent. They compared him with the best sculptors of antiquity. Antonio Canova had accomplished a large number of great works and masterpieces of world’s sculpture during his life. His art work can be divided into two different periods that refer to the different art styles. He began to sculpt within the popular tradition of baroque; however, after starting to learn ancient art and sculpture, he refused the baroque style, and began to follow the classical ancient restraint. In this respect, the current paper will contrast Canova’s earlier works of baroque style and later sculptures of classical style. To comprehend the idea of the difference in works of both periods, it is also worth giving a short overview of the baroque and classicist traditions that Canova belonged to. Baroque sculpture is a style in sculpture characterized by the exaggerated theatricality of the images, dynamic poses, expressive gestures and specific extravagance. The style was formed in the 17th and in the first half of the 18th century, as one of the components of the Baroque culture. The expression of the sculpture developed by the baroque tradition reached the unprecedented level. The element of theatricality was actively implemented by the sculptors. The first innovation introduced by the Baroque sculpture was the interest in the dramatic complexity and diversity of the world. The main attention was paid to the dynamism of the ensemble through the embodiment of scenes depicting the certain moment of the certain action. The sculptors sought to include the audience in the space of sculpture and to intensify the entertainment of the scene. A typical feature of the Baroque sculpture is sharp need for the medium and active interaction with it: water, light, and air. Baroque sculptures need architectural or landscape frame; therefore, the impression of them can usually be lost in the museum environment. In the Renaissance the painting tended to sculptural principles, but in the era of Baroque sculpture tended to the principles of painting. The masters were proud of their ability to assimilate sculpture to painting. This effect was reached with the help of patches of reflected light, playing on the surface of the sculpture. Sculptor’s ideas were intended to perceive the most delicate transitions of light and shadow on the depicted human body. All in all, the space around the figure played a very important role in the art of the Baroque2. According to all these principles, Canova made his first sculptures. The brightest examples of his works made in the Baroque style were the sculpture groups Orpheus and Eurydice (1776) and Daedalus and Icarus (1779). The statue group Orpheus and Eurydice (1776) tells the story of Orpheus, who, after the death of his wife Eurydice, went down into the underworld of the dead. There, with his playing and singing, he touched the goddess Persephone so much that she gave him his wife back. For that Orpheus had to meet one condition not to turn around to look on his wife Eurydice until they come out of the realm of the dead. Orpheus could not resist, he looked back and forever lost his wife. Sculptor managed to convey complex bending shapes in the significant turn and the horror written on the face of Orpheus, who saw that his wife disappeared in the realm of shadows. In 1779 Canova
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