Canova, Antonio [key], 1757–1822, Italian sculptor. He was a leading exponent of the neoclassical school whose influence on the art of his time was enormous. Canova's monumental statues and bas-reliefs are executed with extreme grace, polish, and purity of contour. His first important commission was the monument (1782–87) to Clement XIV in the Church of the Apostles, Rome, followed by that to Clement XIII (completed 1792) in St. Peter's. He then received numerous major commissions from many countries. An admirer of Napoleon, Canova executed a bust of the emperor from life and several other portraits, including two where Napoleon is represented nude in the guise of a Roman emperor. His statue (1820) of George Washington for the statehouse at Raleigh, N.C. (destroyed), was dressed in Roman armor. Canova's memorabilia, consisting of sketches, casts, a few oil paintings, and a voluminous correspondence, are divided between the Gipsoteca in Possagno, his birthplace, and the Civic Museum in Bassano.
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