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Canova & Great Britain



Canova & Great Britain

To celebrate the bicentenary of the death of the neoclassical master Antonio Canova (1 November 1757 – 13 October 1822), the Italian Institute of Culture in Edinburgh in partnership with Museo Gypsotheca Antonio Canova in Possagno (TV) have create a podcast series on Antonio Canova and his relations to Scotland and Britain.

The podcast “Antonio Canova & Great Britain” - available on Spotify here - depicts the British admiration of Canova in 4 episodes, with the special contributions of Helen Smailes, Senior curator of British Art at the National Galleries of Scotland.


Ep. 1: Thomas Campbell and Marchese Antonio Canova with the curator Helen Smailes

Helen Smailes, Senior curator of British Art at the National Galleries of Scotland, talks us through Canova’s enormous prestige in Great Britain and the unimaginable association with Edinburgh-born Thomas Campbell, ultimately the most important Scottish pioneer of neoclassical sculpture in Britain.

Ep. 2: Antonio Canova, Gavin Hamilton and Rome

In this episode, we discuss one of the lesser-known acquaintances of Antonio Canova between the UK and Italy: Gavin Hamilton, a Scottish national who spent most of his adult life in Italy, working as a painter, dealer and archaeologist. Hamilton had a great influence on the young sculptor and became one of the leading figures in Canova’s circle in Rome.

Ep. 3: Sir Thomas Lawrence’s portrait of Antonio Canova

Now part of the Museo Canova’s collection, Sir Thomas Lawrence’s portrait of Antonio Canova speaks to the British admiration of Canova and although it might not represent his physical traits with complete faithfulness, it certainly succeeds in fixing Canova’s genuine genius in his gaze.

Ep. 4: The history of the joint acquisition of The Three Graces

The final episode of this series investigates the complicated history behind the joint acquisition of Canova’s masterpiece The Three Graces, whose ownership is now shared between the V&A Museum in London and the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh.


Antonio Canova is considered one of the greatest neoclassical sculptors of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Canova was born in Possagno (TV), in northern Italy, in 1757 to a family of sculptors and stonecutters. Between 1779 and 1780 he embarked on a tour of the centres of artistic production in Italy, after which he settled in Rome, establishing his own studio. Influenced by antiquarians and archaeologists he met there, Canova determined to reject the excesses of Baroque and to pursue a more restrained and ordered style of sculpture, in which inspiration was taken from the composition and style of classical antiquities. Canova quickly became sought after on an international scale, receiving new and challenging commissions from every corner of Europe, including from Britain, where he travelled in 1815 to admire the famous Elgin marbles from the Parthenon. During his lifetime, Canova was able to develop warm and strong ties with artists and patrons from the UK and Ireland; some of these took the form of true friendships while others remained simple yet friendly connections. Nonetheless, they all help to explore the cultural landscape of that time.


Check out "Canova & Great Britain" on Spotify




Special thanks to Helen Smailes, Senior curator of British Art at the National Galleries of Scotland, Aidan Weston-Lewis, Chief Curator of European Art at the National Galleries of Scotland, and Brendan Cassidy, Emeritus Professor of Art History at St Andrews University.



Data: Da Gio 13 Ott 2022 a Sab 31 Dic 2022

Organizzato da : Italian Institute of Culture in Edinburgh

In collaborazione con : Museo Gypsotheca Antonio Canova

Ingresso : Libero