The relationship between Canova and Carrara in a multimedia exhibition at the CARMI Museum in the city of marbles

From August 1, 2019 to June 10, 2020, the CARMI Museum in Carrara is hosting the exhibition 'Canova. The Journey to Carrara'.

The CARMI Museum in Carrara is hosting, from August 1, 2019 to June 10, 2020, the exhibition Canova. The Journey to Carrara, an exhibition that unfolds through works, documents and multimedia installations and whose goal is to delve into the relationship between the great sculptor Antonio Canova (Possagno, 1757 - Venice, 1822) and the city of marble. The exhibition is curated by Mario Guderzo (director of the Antonio Canova Gipsoteca and Museum in Possagno), with scientific contributions from Marco Ciampolini, Giuseppe Pavanello and Giuliano Pisani, conceived and produced by Cose Belle d’Italia Media Entertainment, and features five Canova plaster casts (of particular note is the presence of the Reclining Magdalene, a plaster cast recently restored by the Academy of Fine Arts of Carrara), several documents (including an unpublished contract, preserved at the Sarteschi collection in Sarzana, made between in 1783 between Count Del Medico Staffetti and Antonio Canova for the supply of marbles necessary for the realization of the funeral monument of Clement XIV), and a multimedia path dedicated to Canova’s life and art, with narration by Adriano Giannini and music by cellist Giovanni Sollima.

The exhibition is divided into six rooms: after an introduction on Canova’s life and works (where there is a Self-Portrait of Canova in plaster), the rooms dedicated to plaster casts open. In particular, we begin with the Graces, which recount the genesis of Canova’s creative process, after which one room is entirely dedicated to Paolina Borghese (the work is reproduced with a game of histereoscopic imaginings made especially for an installation at the Galleria Borghese in Rome), and then continue with installations dedicated to the relationship between Canova and dance (the room dedicated to this theme features the Dancer with her finger on her chin: the statue poses near the giant screens). It is then the turn of the only section entirely devoted to the relationship between Canova and Carrara: the exhibition offers a focus devoted to Antonio Canova’s connection with the marble quarries and the Carrara Academy of Fine Arts (the sculptor’s appointment as an honorary lecturer at the Academy in 1805 is celebrated, an appointment that was part of the project being pursued at the time for the Academy, namely, to make it a world-class training center for artists and craftsmen, and for Carrara, which was to become the city home to the ateliers of the greatest international artists; documents testifying to Canova’s relationship with Carrara are thus presented to the public, with autographs on loan from the Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara, the State Archives in Massa and the Sarteschi collection in Sarzana). The last room is dedicated to the theme of Cupid and Psyche, and there is the plaster cast of Venus and Adonis, which dialogues in the sign of harmony of form with the multimedia installation of Cupid and Psyche.

“Canova is Carrara, Carrara is Canova,” says curator Mario Guderzo “The moment Canova had chosen as his definitive profession that of sculptor he had decided that Carrara marble should be the only material for his works. He had attended the Venetian Free Academy of the Nude, where he had mastered drawing from models and then, with paints and brushes, had tried his hand at painting. His oil paintings and tempera paintings reveal his great ability to relate to the figure, and in the thousands of drawings he had produced, he demonstrates his skill in depicting anatomical forms and studies of bodies. But, after his first Roman approach, he definitely chose to become a sculptor, and marble would be his favorite material, with which he would interpret and transform reality.”

“I am delighted to inaugurate my direction of the Carmi Museum with an exhibition conceived with the innovative criterion of ’integrated exhibition,’ a criterion that associates the originals presented, in this case the plaster casts of Antonio Canova, with a multimedia path, which will allow their observation with the revealing eye of technology at the service of art,” says Marco Ciampolini, director of the CARMI Museum. “As an art historian, I am therefore proud to have contributed to the evolution of the project conceived by Cose Belle d’Italia Media Entertainment, which after the immersive path created for the MANN in Naples on the occasion of the exhibition Canova e l’Antico, now signs in collaboration with the Carmi Museum a new project expressly designed around the works and documents kept by the Academy of Fine Arts of Carrara.”

“Our active participation in this articulated exhibition project,” says Academy of Fine Arts of Carrara Director Luciano Massari, “is, once again, confirmation of the richness of the artistic heritage and knowledge of the Academy of Fine Arts of Carrara: not only for the rich collection of Canovian plaster casts and for the expertise of the teachers who are involved in the Municipality’s initiatives, but, above all, for the cultural contribution that a hotbed of ideas like the Academy provides daily to the definition of a cultural direction for the city. The choice not to remain closed within the walls of the Cybo-Malaspina Palace is our concrete contribution toward a city that needs qualified opportunities for knowledge and that recognizes in our institution, after 250 years, still a very strong identity element.”

“We are convinced,” stresses Carrara Mayor Francesco De Pasquale, “that thanks to the exhibition dedicated to Canova, visitors from all over Italy will come to Carrara to appreciate the beauty of the Carmi and of our entire city. Once again, the name of Carrara will echo in the country thanks to the names of the masters who transformed our marble into art: a year ago it happened with Michelangelo, this time it will happen thanks to Canova. It is by drawing inspiration from these greats of art that we will carry on the social and cultural rebirth of our city, step by step.”

The exhibition opens daily: until September 14, 2019, and during June 1-10, 2020, Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., on Thursdays in August 2019 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; during September 15-May 31, 2020, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Thursday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets (also valid for visiting the CARMI Museum): full 5 euros, reduced 3 euros (over 65, CTT Nord users, groups of at least 10 people). Cumulative CARMI, Marble Museum and Plastic Arts Center: 10 euros (reduced 6 euros). Free for resident students, group leaders, ICOM members, tour guides, accredited journalists, all visitors on the first Sunday of each month.

Pictured: the creative process and the Graces. Installation View © SensoImmersive

The relationship between Canova and Carrara in a multimedia exhibition at the CARMI Museum in the city of marbles
The relationship between Canova and Carrara in a multimedia exhibition at the CARMI Museum in the city of marbles

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