• The Genius of Death

    Artist:
    Canova, Antonio. 1757-1822
    Dimensions:
    height: 83 cm

Canova, Antonio. 1757-1822

The Genius of Death

Italy, 1789

The head of the genius of death is part of a statue that was intended for the tomb of Pope Clement XIII (reigned 1758-69) inside St.Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The tomb was commissioned from Antonio Canova in 1784 by the Roman senator Prince Abbondio Rezzonico and his brothers, the nephews of the late pontiff. The tomb is remarkable for its clear and simple compositional structure. On the top is a statue of the kneeling Pope that won admiration of the many spectators, who attended the unveiling of the monument in 1792, for its portrait likeness and expressiveness. On the side of the sarcophagus, which resembles an Ancient Roman one, Canova placed a stern figure embodying Religion; on the other, at the foot of the sarcophagus, leaning on an expiring torch, sits the sad genius of death. When this statue was almost complete, Canova discovered coloured patches on the marble and had to redo the whole figure. The larger than life-size head of the statue rejected by the master gives an indication of the scale of the tomb sculptures and of the tremendous work accomplished by Canova Thanks to this creation he was acclaimed as the greatest sculptor in Italy and gained wide recognition beyond its borders.

Title:

The Genius of Death

Place:

Date:

Material:

Dimensions:

height: 83 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1850; purchased from Rumyantsev

Inventory Number:

Н.ск-115

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