The protagonists

I Protagonisti


Antonio Canova (Possagno 1757 – Venice 1822) Universally recognised as the most important exponent of the neoclassic, Antonio Canova was one of the principle sculptors of all eras and because of this was called “the new Fidia”.

His training and apprenticeships were all carried out in Venice where he created his first sculptures and received his first awards.

At the age of twenty-two he moved to Rome where became a protagonist in the last season of italian art.

A lover of ideal beauty, without affectation, Canova’s art is condensed in groups of figures, such as “Le Tre Grazie” or the two versions of “Amore e Psyche” or in masterpieces such as “La Venere Italica” and “Paolina Borghese”. Antonio Canova had a decisive influence in determining the character and the quality of european sculpture during the 18th and 19th centuries.


Lorenzo Bartolini (Prato 1777 – Florence 1850). After having completed his training in Florence, Bartolini moved to Paris in 1799 where he frequented David’s study and began to be noted.

Thanks to the the interest of the imperial family, Bartolini was nominated the Professor of Sculpture at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Carrara in 1807 and thus became the ufficial sculptor of the Bonaparte family.

In 1815 Bartolini returned to Florence where he found it difficult to forget his recent political ties and especially to declare his artistic ideas which were at this time decidedly anti-classic.

However, he was able to find several admirers in the foreign colony in Florence and the quality of his sculptures was quickly recognised and admired both in Italy and abroad.

Amongst all of his works, the most famous are “La Fiducia in Dio (Trust in God)” and “La Ninfa dello Scorpione (The Nymph of the Scorpion)”, which was especially praised without measure by Baudelaire when presented at the Paris Show in 1845.


Carlo Finelli (Carrara 1782 – Rome 1853) Carlo Finelli began his artistic training in Florence. He then moved to Milan and finally to Rome where he frequented Canova’s study and immediately received such praise and recognition that in 1814 he was nominated academic of San Luca.

From that moment, Finelli began intensely producing a vast array of works of mainly mythological content to satisfy the desires of the richly international art collection scene–predominantly English and Russian—and then created one of his masterpieces “Le Ore Danzanti” of the St. Petersburg Ermitage. During the 1830s, despite ample recognition, Finelli distanced himself completely from mythological sculptures which were too tied to the neoclassic style, and, following a growing interest in the field of purism, began tackling issues of religious intonation.


Pietro Tenerani (Carrara 1789– Rome, 1869) After having completed his studies at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Carrara, Tenerani moved to Rome in 1814 to perfect his craft with Antonio Canova and Bertel Thorvaldsen. He then began to follow an independent path which quickly brought him a broad consensus and great recognition.

His works were sought after by some of the most prestigious art collectors; His portraits, transfigured through Tenerani’s sense of “true”, were in high demand among the most famous people from all over Europe; some of his sculptures in person were replicated several times, to meet ever increasing demands.

As one who subscribed to the italian purist movement, in 1856 Tenerani became the president of the Accademia of San Luca and in 1858 president of the Musei Capitolini and finally in 1860 director of the Vatican Museum.


Christian Daniel Rauch (Arolsen, 1777 – Dresda, 1857) After having trained with Johann Gottfried Schadow, Rauch, like so many of the great european sculptors of his generation, spent a long period of time perfecting his craft in Italy with long trips to Rome and frequent stops in Carrara, where he created important monumental sculptures, such as the cenotaph for Queen Luisa for her mauseoleum in Charlottemburg.

Amongst the protagonists of the “Berlin school”, Rauch contributed to the formal renovation of the German sculpture and through his extraordinary work as a portraitist was also able to direct aristocratic German taste toward a more natural classicism, less conditioned by the old-fashioned idealism.


Giovanni Antonio Cybei (Carrara 1706 – 1784) After having proven his predisposition by following in his sculptor uncle Giovanni Baratta’s footsteps, Cybei completed his artistic training in Rome under the supervision of Angelo Cornacchini with whom he will collaborate with to create the equine statue of Carlus Magnus in Saint Peter’s.

After returning to Carrara, Cybei inherits his uncle’s laboratory, Cybei begins to update his style under the new rules of european sculpture, adding his own personal neoclassical touch.

After having created sculptures and monuments in various Italian cities and placed works in several of the most important european courts, Cybei was asked to become the director of the newly founded Accademia di Belle Arti of Carrara.


Luigi Bienaimè (Carrara 1785 – Rome 1878) After having attended the Accademia di Belle Arti of Carrara, Bienaimè moved to Rome in 1818 where he joined Bertel Thorvaldsen’s studio as a helper and then as director until the death of the Danish master.

As director, Bienaimè created many copies of Thorvaldsen’s sculptures but also many of his own inventions which, while influenced by the style of his teacher, denote a charge of emotions, a style completely alien to that of the Danish style.

Luigi Bienaimè was very much appreciated by Czar Nicholas I, and Bienaimè worked for a long time for the St. Petersburg court and aristocracy, where several copies of his most famous works are conserved.

After Thorvaldsen’s death, Bienaimè inherited his place as emeritus member at the Accademia of San Luca.


Paolo Andrea Triscornia (Carrara 1757—1833) As the professor of sculpture at the Accademia until 1803, Triscornia created a long series of portraits on the imperial family during the Napoleonic era, such as Paolina Borghese and Giuseppe Bonaparte, which he created in the governative laboratories of the Banca Elisiana.

From 1817, Triscornia works almost exclusively for the Czarist court where he mainly created antique copies of particular meaning and monumental facility, such as actual copies of the Laocoonte, Leoni Medici, for the Minister of War, and a large scale of the Dioscuri of the Quirinal for the handling.
For the work commissioned by St. Petersburg, Triscornia was assisted by his son Alessandro, who then lived in Russia for a quarter of a century.

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