Canova, who was based in Rome, was one of the most famous artists in eighteenth-century Europe . His sculpture was celebrated for its classical character and convincing lifelike qualities. Canova successfully emulated and, in the view of some contemporaries, even surpassed sculptors of Antiquity and more recent times, such as Michelangelo and Bernini. He was also inspired by painters, especially those from Venice, near his birthplace, Possagno. In 1801 he was knighted by the Pope and in 1814 honoured with the title of Perpetual President of the Academy of St Luke. His work attracted distinguished patrons from all over Europe, including Britain.