Canova: Sketching in Clay (Art Institute Chicago)
C. D. Dickerson, Emerson Bowyer, Anthony Sigel, Elyse Nelson
Art Institute Chicago, 2023
The most celebrated sculptor of the neoclassical age, Antonio Canova (1757–1822) established himself as the preeminent artist of his time with his funerary monuments and meticulously carved marbles on classical themes. Although his idealized and sensual sculptures are widely known, this is the first book devoted entirely to the brilliantly expressive clay models that he made in preparation for his marble sculptures. Only sixty-five of his terracotta models survive today. Extraordinarily modern in their boldness, the models retain the touch of the artist’s hand and yield a revelatory glimpse into Canova’s imaginative and technical process.
The authors, with expertise in art history and conservation, examine Canova’s techniques for making terracotta models, including how he used clay to develop full-scale models that his assistants copied in marble, and his practice of gifting his models to friends.