CARMI | Carrara
01.8.2019 - 10.6.2020
From 1 August 2019 to 10 June 2020, CARMI - Carrara and Michelangelo Museum in Villa Fabbricotti presents CANOVA - The journey to Carrara, an exhibition curated by Mario Guderzo, Director of the Gypsotheca and Antonio Canova Museum of Possagno (Treviso) with the contribution of an international scientific committee.
The exhibition, designed and organised by Magister Art in exclusive and in collaboration with the CARMI Museum, studies the relationship between Antonio Canova (1757-1822) and Carrara, the international capital of marble, and brings together five precious original plaster models with the documents kept at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Carrara. The Accademia boasts a rich gallery of plaster models and this year it celebrates 250 years since it was founded, with a spectacular multimedia journey exploring Canova’s whole story, narrated to the public by Adriano Giannini with music by the cellist Giovanni Sollima.
The exhibition is made particularly interesting because, included in the artist’s rich creative world, some letters from the State Archives of Massa, and a contract of 1783, which up to now was unknown, between Count del Medico Staffetti and Antonio Canova (Andrea Sarteschi collection, Sarzana) for the purchase of the blocks that were necessary to make the “Monumento funebre di Clemente XIV”.
LIFE AND WORKS OF ANTONIO CANOVA
The introductory room is where the discovery of Antonio Canova (1757-1822) begins, and that of his 65 years of life, which as Mario Guderzo underlines “was like a rainbow: starting from the small town of Possagno, it covered the whole of Italy and Europe, and he even became famous in the New World. He was an extremely refined diplomat and was able to manage relations with sovereigns, cardinals Popes and even Napoleon himself.”
The emblematic plaster model “Autoritratto di Canova”, on loan from the Accademia di Belle Arti di Carrara provides a form of visual interaction with the historical documents and biographical notes.
THE CREATIVE PROCESS AND “LE GRAZIE”
This room is dedicated to finding out about the sculptor’s methods. Images of the sculptural group “Le Grazie” in macro and in micro are shown on a screen and they reveal the tools and secrets of the way Canova worked. In particular they show the passages from the clay sketch to the plaster model (with repère), to the final sculpture in marble. In front of the screen, in three spectacular showcases there are three different phases of his work: scale models in different materials, from the same sculptural group “Le Grazie”.
The story is supported by the presence of the splendid “Venere Italica”, which with its sweet, modest vibration, ends the exhibition.
PAOLINA BORGHESE AND THE FALL OF NAPOLEON
Here the visitor is welcomed by an exciting installation, which in a completely new way, offers the opportunity to explore the work “Paolina Borghese” in detail. The work is reproduced with a clever play of stereoscopic images made especially just for the installation at the Galleria Borghese in Rome. The sculptural portrait of Napoleon’s younger sister, commissioned in 1804 by her husband, Prince Camillo Borghese, offers a vision of Paolina lying half naked on an inlaid wooden daybed. The original construction details, designed by Canova, concerned the mechanism hidden in the wooden base, which still works, and which made it possible for the sculpture to be rotated. On one wall the visitor can see the Bonaparte family tree represented on a timeline.
In this room, the story is accompanied by Antonio Canova’s precious anatomical drawings, on loan from the Museo Civico di Bassano del Grappa.
CANOVA AND DANCE
A fascinating multimedia animation of the temperas painted by Canova, dedicated to his great passion for dance. The works are at the Gypsotheca and Museo Canova of Possagno (TV). The visitor sees the vitality and strength of youth, dance as an antidote to unhappiness, that Canova turned to in order to overcome the times when he felt he was getting tired and demoralised.
The “Danzatrice col dito al mento” on loan from the Accademia di Belle Arti di Carrara, accompanies the visitor to the multimedia installation, with the amused pose of the austere and elegant plaster model placed near the giant screens.
CANOVA, THE JOURNEY TO CARRARA AND ACCADEMIA DI BELLE ARTI
In the 5th room of the exhibition the story continues with the focus on Antonio Canova’s connection with the marble quarries and the Accademia di Belle Arti di Carrara. This room also celebrates his appointment in 1805 as Honorary Professor, an appointment that was part of the project that was being undertaken at the time at the Accademia, which was to make it an international centre for artists and artisans and for Carrara, that would become the city with workshops of the greatest artists in the world.
Here, the visitor can look deeper into Canova’s relationship with Carrara, thanks to the original signed documents on loan from the Accademia di Belle Arti di Carrara, the State Archives of Massa, as well as from Andrea Sarteschi’s Private Collection, Sarzana. This room also has the last of the five plaster models, on loan from the Accademia di Belle Arti di Carrara, “Maddalena giacente”, one Antonio Canova’s last works, which has recently been restored by the Accademia di Belle Arti di Carrara.
THE FABLE OF CUPID AND PSYCHE
By the end of the exhibition the visitor is gradually caught by the striking images of the three masterpieces that Canova dedicated to Cupid and Psyche, one of the most beautiful fairy tales ever, taken from the Golden Ass by Apuleius. Canova was fascinated by the symbolic meaning of the story: psyche means “soul” and also “butterfly”, and like the butterfly, which turns from a caterpillar into a chrysalis and then opens its wings and flies away, so the girl undergoes a metamorphosis, thanks to Cupid, and is welcomed by Jupiter in Olympus, where she sits as a goddess among goddesses. There is a feeling of nostalgia for the happy and lost age when gods appeared to men, when Grace reigned and nothing was as sacred as Beauty.
Here the plaster statue of “Il gruppo Venere e Adone”, on loan from the Accademia di Belle Arti di Carrara, communicates in the name of harmony of form with the installation of “Amore e Psiche”.
With the scientific contribution of
With creative supervision of
Associate Creative Director
With the patronage of
MiBACT, Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities
Province of Massa Carrara
Loans kindly provided by
Accademia di Belle Arti di Carrara
State Archives of Massa
Andrea Sarteschi Del Medico’s Private Collection, Sarzana
Civic Museum of Bassano del Grappa.
Multimedia conent taken from Magister Canova
In collaborazione with Fondazione Canova Gypsotheca and the Antonio Canova Museum of Possagno
Mario Guderzo, Giuliano Pisani - Curators,
Giuseppe Pavanello, Steffi Roetgen, Johannes Missok, Andrea Bellieni - Scientific Committee,
Giovanni Sollima - Music,
Adriano Giannini - Narrator.
MAGISTER ART SRL
MERLO FACTORY SRL - ROMA, Produzione
AUDIO & LIGHT SYSTEM
Conservation and Loans
Photo Repertory of the Academy and Video Repertory of Carrara
MICHELE AMBROGI, Art Photographer
Magister application dedicated to “Canova - The journey to Carrara”, developed in collaboration with Enjoy Museum.
MUNICIPALITY OF CARRARA
FRANCESCO DE PASQUALE
Councillor for Culture and Tourism
Director of the Culture and Library Department
ILDO FUSANI, GUIRARDO VITALE
Department of Tourism
Press Office - Municipality of Carrara
Spokesperson of the Mayor
International Contacts, Cabinet of the Mayor
CARMI - MUSEO CARRARA E MICHELANGELO A VILLA FABBRICOTTI
Technical Museum Services
LUCA CIMINO, Presidente
LUCIA VENUTI, Direttore Generale
BENEDETTO LA ROSA, Ingegnere Quadro
Accoglienza, Visite Guidate, Didattica
Accademia di Belle Arti di Carrara
ANTONIO PASSA, President
LUCIANO MASSARI, Director
MONICA ZANFINI, Spokesperson on Institutional Activities
Associazione Amici Dell’accademia Di Belle Arti Di Carrara - Onlus
LINA SICARI, President
CORRADO LATTANZI, Vice President