...this month's featured artist is: Munch

Edvard Munch is considered as one of the major symbolist painters, forerunner of the expressionist movement. "I don't paint what i see, but what i've seen" he said, to underline his distance from the (post)impressionism. Munch is interested in showing what happens inside his head, how his unrational side takes over the rational one and modifies the reality perceived... Read more >>.

... and remember to come back often: new artists are added everyday!


Dalì

[coming soon! The site is momentaneously having a break for manteinance reason... That means that for a few days we won't be able to publish 1 artist per day as promised... But come back on...

Kandinsky

[coming soon! The site is momentaneously having a break for manteinance reason... That means that for a few days we won't be able to publish 1 artist per day as promised... But come back on...

Monet 2/2

Monet was a pure impressionist, a real master of the style, entirely focusing his attention on the colours and light effects of the landscapes that he used to paint en plain air.

He...

Canova

General Informations
NameAntonio Canova
Birth1 November, 1757
Death13 October, 1822
MovementsNeoclassicism
MusicDmitri Shostakovich (25 September 1906 - 9 August 1975) - Piano Concerto in F


Antonio Canova is worldwide regarded as the greatest neoclassical sculptor ever seen in the world. He was born in a small town near Venice, where the young Antonio began his artistic studies.
His father was of stone-cutter and also the first teacher of Canova, who was initiated to drawing after the very first years of his life.
At the age of 22 he moved to Rome and entered the "French Nude Academy" where he started to elaborate his ideal style of beauty. Style that will make him famous all over the world: the Hapsburg, Napoleon and the Pope where just some of the important noblemen of the era who asked for his works.

Anyway, he never took part to the political matters around him: in his opinion, art belonged to an higher, autonomous dimension, where the miseries of life were purified and elevated. No need to get involved in politics. Grace is the 'sense of life', and it can only be reached through art.

But grace is not the result of the frivolous aesthetic pleaseure given by Rococo art: it's sensuality and harmony altogether, passion controlled by reason. That's why Canova made an extent use of white marble: white and pure as the rational ideas, but at the same time soft and sensual as vivid flesh.

Aesthetically, his lines are clear and delicate.
Emotionally, his sculptures ooze disruptive passion, sufference, love.

All the surprising excesses of Baroque, all the reliogious meanings of the Medio-Evo have disappeared.

It's just an impressive emotive force contained inside aesthetic perfection.

A quote from the artist

I have read that the ancients, when they had produced a sound, used to modulate it, heightening and lowering its pitch without departing from the rules of harmony. So must the artist do in working at the nude. (Antonio Canova)

A few words about the music

This is the II movement of Shostakovich's "Piano Concerto n.2 in F, op. 102". The author is one of the most important composers of the 20th century and, even if very distant from Canova cronologically, these two great artists have, stilistically, many similarities.

Shostakovich mastered and wrote in a wide variety of genres (including the neoclassicism so much loved by Canova) but rarely left the road of tonality. It was quite weird, for a 20th century composer, to make such an extent use of tonal music, in opposition to the atonal tendencies that were developing in those years.

We may compare tonal music to the immediate, simple beauty of Canova's works: the sense of balance, harmony and clarity in both authors, given by the classical-like flow of marble lines (or notes), can immediately recall the aesthetic standards of beauty and perfection in a person's mind. That won't easly happen with a more contemporary art work: see, for example, Pollock's painting or - for what's concerning music - Berio's compositions.

Selected works

Theseus and the Minotaur (1781-1783) - Victoria and Albert Museum, London

In celebrating the fight between Theseus and the Minotaur, Canova decides not to represent the middle of the battle, the highest moment of tension, because that would have led to the expression of an excessive amount of violent tensions and passions.  Instead, he chose the moment immediately following Theseus' victory, with the hero sitting on the Minotaur. The agitation of the fight is over and the hero, embodying the classical ideals of strenght and beauty, is still meditating on the heroic act that he just realized.

The calm and rational curves of the marble enclose, once again, strong interior upheavals.

Theseus and the Minotaur

 

Amor and Psyche (or Psyche Revived by the Kiss of Love) (1787-1793)  Louvre, Paris

This is probably Canova's most famous and beloved masterpiece, representing the tale of Amor (Amour, Cupid) and Psyche. The original story by Apuleius focused on many erotic moments between the two lovers, but Canova, sticking to his stylistic ideas, decided to represent an instant of incredible sweetness and subtle sensuality. The scene is sober, with the two lovers hardly touching each other, but expressing such a deep, inner love that probably no words, or notes, could ever describe.

Love and Psyche

Hercules and Lica (1795-1815)  Louvre, Paris

Hercules and Lica

Comments

Post new comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options