Cupid and Psyche
Art meets Technology

Palazzo Braschi | Rome
10.10.2019 - 21.06.2020

The most contemporary reproduction

Between October 2019 and June 2020 the Museum of Rome presented Canova. Eternal Beauty, an exhibition displaying more than 170 artworks by Antonio Canova, some of them prestigious pieces on loan from major museums and Italian and foreign private collections.

For this exhibition Magister Art presented an innovative full-scale replica of Antonio Canova’s sculptural group Cupid and Psyche. From a 3D scan of the preparatory plaster cast for the sculpture, now in the Musée du Louvre, Paris, a robot carved non-stop, for 270 hours, a 10 tonne block of white Carrara marble.

Backstage
Backstage

© Robotor, Laura Veschi

Backstage

© Robotor, Laura Veschi

Backstage

© Marco Petracci

Backstage

© Marco Petracci

A computer wields the chisel.

The full-scale replica of Cupid and Psyche aims to be an unparalleled tribute to the greatest interpreter of Neoclassicism, the first ambassador of Italian beauty in the world: Antonio Canova.

Canova’s creative process began with a drawing, followed by a first clay model, where he defined his idea to proceed with the production of a full-scale terracotta model of the final artwork. From the full-scale terracotta model he obtained a mold that he filled with liquid gypsum plaster to create a casting in which he inserted metal cylinders, called repéres, which served as indispensable points of reference for the following step: by means of squares, compasses or pantographs, these points were plotted onto the marble block to be transformed into the final artwork.

This process embodies the theme of the replicability of an artwork starting from a plaster model.

Drawing inspiration from this principle of replicability of art, the reproduction created by Magister Art should be regarded as a tribute to the artistry of the sculptor. It expresses the contemporary aspiration to underscore again the creative genius of Canova.

Placed at the centre of the courtyard of Palazzo Braschi, the installation featuring the replica of Cupid and Psyche was a focus of attention for anyone passing through Piazza Navona e Piazza San Pantaleo, during the opening months of the exhibition.

The installation project includes also two videos. One narrates the intimate story from which Canova drew inspiration, Apuleius’ Tale, with a script by classical philologist Giuliano Pisani, the voice of Adriano Giannini, and original soundtrack by cellist Giovanni Sollima. The second video focuses on the various steps for the production of the statue, from the scanning of the plaster model to the operations by the robot on the marble block.

This unprecedented initiative is part of a broader project undertaken by Magister in 2017, to create exhibition formats meeting the highest standards of quality and completeness, specially designed to generate vibrant experiences for visitors, where creative experimentation and technology meet to celebrate Art.

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