Antonio Canova The Three Graces 1815 - 1817


Born 1757
Died 1822
Nationality Italian
Birth place Possagno
Death place Venice

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.

Glossary terms

Glossary terms


A European style of art and architecture based on Ancient Greek and Roman models, with particular importance put on simplicity and discipline. It first appeared in the 1750s after the discovery of ancient archaeological sites in Greece and Rome. Such ideals have been revived at various points in history since, and contrast with more decadent and dynamic styles such as the Baroque.


This term usually refers to a standing human figure carrying its weight on one leg so that the opposite hip rises to produce a relaxed curve in the body, although it can be used more generally to describe any twisted figure. It is associated with Renaissance sculptors who looked back to Ancient Greek and Roman models for inspiration.