Canova – Eternal Beauty Exhibition

09.10.2019 - 15.03.2020

Palazzo Braschi is inviting everyone to see their exhibition called “Canova – Eternal Beauty”.

From 9 October 2019 Canova starts . Eternal beauty : an exhibition-event dedicated to Canova and its link with the city of Rome which, between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, became the forge of his genius and inexhaustible source of inspiration. A relationship, the one between the sculptor and the city, which emerges in a myriad of aspects, unique and unrepeatable.

The exhibition “Canova. Eternal beauty ” – promoted by the Cultural Growth Department of Roma Capitale, produced by the Capitolina Superintendent of Cultural Heritage and Arthemisia, and organized with Zètema Culture Project – is curated by Giuseppe Pavanello and hosted until March 15th 2020 at the Museum of Rome. The exhibition is organized in collaboration with the National Academy of San Luca and with Gypsotheca and Museo Antonio Canova di Possagno.

Framed within an installation of great visual impact, over 170 works by Canova and some contemporary artists animate the rooms of the Museum of Rome in Palazzo Braschi. The exhibition will tell Canovian art in 13 sections and the context that the sculptor found when he arrived in the city in 1779.

Through sophisticated lighting solutions , the warm atmosphere in torchlight will be recalled along the exhibition route, with which the artist, at the end of the eighteenth century, showed his works to the guests, at night, in the atelier of via delle Colonnette.

To define the plot of the story, important loans from the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, the Vatican Museums, the Gypsotheca and Antonio Canova Museum in Possagno, the Civic Museum of Bassano del Grappa, the Capitoline Museums, the Museum Correr of Venice, the National Archaeological Museum of Naples, the Fine Arts Academies of Bologna, Carrara and Ravenna, the National Academy of San Luca, the Musée des Augustins of Toulouse, the Strada Nuova Museums-Palazzo Tursi of Genoa , the Civic Museum of Asolo.

The exhibition
From the treasures of the Capitoline Museums to those of the Vatican Museums, from the collections of the Farnese and Ludovisi to the marbles inserted in the urban context of the time, there were many works that the artist – captivated by their charm – studied meticulously, making them witnesses and protagonists of the his close relationship with the city.

The exhibition will retrace the routes the sculptor made to discover Rome , since his first stay. Surprising, for example, his words of admiration for the group of Apollo and Daphne of Bernini, seen at Villa Borghese, and reported in his Quaderni di viaggio.

It will also be possible to deepen the work of the artist for the great funerary monuments of Clement XIV and Clement XIII, and for the Monument to the last Stuart, through the presentation of drawings, sketches, models and plaster casts, also of large format; the marble of the Rezzonico funerary genius, loaned by the Hermitage of St. Petersburg and the model of the Stuart Monument of the Gypsotheca of Possagno, stands out among them for its great executive quality.

The sections
1. 1779: Canova in Rome
2. The birth of the new tragic style
3. Canova and the Roman Republic
4. Ercole and Lica
5. The Pugilatori
6. The perfect theorem: Ancient and Modern in comparison
7. Canova and the Academy of San Luca
8. Canova, Inspector of Fine Arts
9. Canova and the busts of the Pantheon
10. Last works for Rome
11. Canova’s study
12. The Dancer
13. Death and glorification


Canova’s conversation with the classical world was profound and engraved on crucial issues, first of all the desire to revive the Ancient in the Modern and to shape the Modern through the filter of the Ancient.
“The Ancient must be sent in blood – to use Canova’s own words – until it becomes as natural as life itself.”
Also for this reason, the sculptor can be considered the last of the ancients and the first of the moderns: yes he always refused to make copies of classical sculptures, considering it a work unworthy of an artist-creator, just as he never wanted to intervene with restorations on ancient marbles, “untouchables” by definition.

The relationship between Ancient and Modern will be recalled in the exhibition through the comparison of Canova marbles – including the winged Amorino from the Hermitage of St. Petersburg – with ancient marbles such as the Farnese Eros of the National Archaeological Museum of Naples.
A room will welcome a focus on the Classic and Neoclassical theme and will bring together gypsum of famous ancient masterpieces with those of Canovian statues created for Count Alessandro Papafava. The Apollo del Belvedere and the Gladiator Borghese will be compared with the triumphant Perseus and the Pugilatore Creugante by Antonio Canova.


With the arrival of Canova, Rome was confirmed as the center of modern art: the Monument of Clement XIV, raised in the Basilica of the Holy Apostles in 1787, was immediately acclaimed as a new example of classical perfection.
At the Museum of Rome you will be able to admire magnificent sculptures and numerous drawings, evidence of the graphic work of the sculptor.
The works of Canova will dialogue with those created by the major artists active in the city at the end of the eighteenth century: Gavin Hamilton, present in the exhibition with paintings depicting the Stories of Paris, Pompeo Batoni, of which Canova attended the Academy of Nude, Jean-François- Pierre Peyron, whose Belisarius who receives the hospitality of a farmer (Toulouse, Musée des Augustins) was much admired by the sculptor, who called the French painter “the best of all”.


Canova commissioned numerous busts to illustrious sculptors to make a substantial contribution to one of the most important projects of the time, the transformation of the Pantheon from a church dedicated to Santa Maria ad Martyres into a lay temple dedicated to artists. Among the works on display, the Bust of Domenico Cimarosa was destined for the Pantheon, now in the Capitoline Protomoteca together with that depicting Pius VII: sculptures of extraordinary executive quality and interpretation.
An important section will be dedicated to the fervent activity of the Canova studio in Via San Giacomo: a workshop without equal for the time. Terracotta sketches, small plaster casts, large-format models, marbles, and plaster casts of already finished sculptures were a sort of permanent ‘anthology’ of the great sculptor’s production. Canova’s atelier was a must for artists, aristocrats, connoisseurs and travelers passing through the city.


The exhibition will also address the relationship between the sculptor and the literature of his time: a small section will be devoted to the relationship between Canova and Alfieri, whose tragedy Antigone, staged in Rome in 1782, presents more than one food for thought in relation to to the Canarian figurative revolution.

On display (thanks to an institutional loan) there will also be the representation of an episode of the most beautiful fable of the Greeks, according to Voltaire, the Love and standing Psyche, a plaster of Canova, a subject subject to particular attention by numerous artists, especially painters, at the end of the eighteenth century, but that only Canova was able to reinvent by connoting it with philosophical meanings. A reworking of the myth in an eminently spiritual key that transcends the senses.

Fiercely anti-Jacobin, Canova abandoned Rome at the time of the Republic at the end of the eighteenth century to take refuge in his native Possagno. Paintings, sculptures, drawings and engravings show in the exhibition that moment which saw the temporary end of the papal temporal power with the exile of Pius VI Braschi.
Canova was commissioned to sculpt the statue of Pius VI, to be initially placed under the altar of the Confession in the Vatican Basilica, then moved to the Vatican Grottoes: on display – inside the palace built at the end of the eighteenth century precisely for the nephews of Papa Braschi – it will be possible to admire a model for the monument.

From 1802 Canova was Inspector General of the Fine Arts of the State of the Church, a position he held also during the second French domination in Rome (1809-1814) and in the era of the Restoration, when he was commissioned to recover the works of art stolen by the French at the end of the eighteenth century. In the same years, he also took the initiative to create the statue of the Religion, evoked in the exhibition with plaster models from the National Academy of San Luca and the Vatican Museums. They will be joined by examples of the Museum of Rome, such as the self-portrait in plaster and the terracotta sketches of the Monument to George Washington and the Portrait of Leopoldina Esterhazy Liechtenstein.
In the last room of the exhibition, one of Canova’s most extraordinary marbles: the Dancer with her hands on her hips, from St. Petersburg. Turns on its base, as Canova wanted, moreover in a room covered with mirrors. The myth of Pygmalion is repeated, in love with his statue, Galatea, which comes to life: from marble it becomes flesh.

The exhibition itinerary will be enriched by new specially designed multimedia installations.

An exhibition in the exhibition: the Canova photographs by Mimmo Jodice
Through 30 photographs by Mimmo Jodice depicting the marbles of Antonio Canova, the public will be able to admire the sculptor’s works through the eyes of one of the greatest masters of photography. Jodice managed to offer a completely new and surprising reinterpretation, creating a series of images that immediately imposed themselves as one of the most exciting expressions of contemporary photography. The images will be a real show in the exhibition, offering a unique opportunity to approach the sculptor guided by the creativity of a great artist of today.

Love and Psyche – Art meets technology
by Magister with Robotor
Magister presents the most contemporary full-scale reproduction of Antonio Canova’s sculptural group of Amore and Psyche. Starting from a 3D scan of the preparatory plaster of the sculpture now exhibited at the Louvre in Paris, a robot has incessantly carved for 270 hours a block of white Carrara marble of 10 tons.

The installation of great emotional power, conceived by Magister and realized in collaboration with Robotor, opens a new challenge on the paradigms of the reproducibility of works of art: reproduction is in fact to be read as a form of respect for the artist’s thought and expresses the contemporary aspiration to once again enhance its creative flair.
Accompanying the installation is a documentary on the realization of the work and a video story of Apuleius’s story of Amore e Psiche, in a journey between spectacle and study, a story on Giuliano Pisani’s texts, with the voice of Adriano Giannini and the original music by the cellist Giovanni Sollima.

The Canova exhibition. Eternal beauty sees Generali Italia as a sponsor with the Valore Cultura project, the program for promoting art and culture throughout the Italian territory and bringing together a vast and transversal public – families, young people, customers and employees – to the art world through facilitated entry to exhibitions, theatrical performances, events and artistic-cultural dissemination activities with the aim of creating shared value.
Special partner Ricola, Magister partner, a brand of Cose Belle d’Italia with Robotor, technical sponsor of Siat, with the technical contribution of Ferrovie dello Stato.
The event is recommended by Sky Arte.
Catalog published by Silvana Editoriale.

Technical details of the Canova exhibition – Eternal Beauty
Canova. Eternal Beauty

Museum of Rome at Palazzo Braschi
input from Piazza Navona, 2
and Piazza San Pantaleo, 10

Give to the public
October 9, 2019 – March 15, 2020

Opening hours
Monday to Sunday
10 am to 7 pm
The ticket office closes one hour before

Special openings 24th and 31st December 10.00am-2.00pm

Closing days
December 25th, January 1st

Entrance ticket


“Exhibition only” ticket:
– full price: € 13.00
– reduced: € 11.00
– special for schools: € 4.00 per student (
free admission for one teacher for every 10 students);
– special Family: € 22.00 (2 adults plus children under 18)
Integrated ticket Museum of Rome + Exhibition (for non-residents in Rome):
– full price: € 19.00
– reduced: € 15.00

Location: Palazzo Braschi Roma, Museo de Roma, Piazza Navona, Roma
Date: October 9, 2019 – March 15, 2020
Time: 10:00am-7:00pm
Cost: 13 Euros for the entry ticket
More info


Museo de Roma, Piazza Navona, Roma, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy


13 EUR

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.