Canova and Napoleon

A plaster cast of the bust of Napoleon by Antonio Canova (1757-1822) made in preparation for his marble ‘Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker’, over three metres in height, commissioned by Napoleon in 1802 but now in the home of his nemesis the Duke of Wellington at Apsley House in London. 

This cast is in the Galleria dell’Accademia in Venice, where the young man from nearby Possagno, a village just north of Asolo (in the foothills of the mountains seen in last week's photo), was a student. The Gipsoteca of Canova (literally "plaster-theque", on the model of discotheque), in his home village, is one of the many small museums in Italy which are more fascinating than we might imagine, and almost contemporary since the collection was put together in the 1830s by his step-brother soon after Canova's death.

                                                                           ©Edward Burman

                                                                         ©Edward Burman