“After Canova. Paths of Sculpture in Florence and Rome.”

Curated by Sergej Androsov – Massimo Bertozzi – Ettore Spalletti
JULY 8-OCTOBER 22, 2017

Opening to the public on July 8 in Carrara is the exhibition After Canova.Paths of Sculpture in Florence and Rome,” curated by Sergej Androsov, Massimo Bertozzied Ettore Spalletti. For the occasion, the rooms of the 19th-century Palazzo Cucchiari, home of the Giorgio Conti Foundation, which has been producing and promoting exhibitions dedicated to the 19th century and contemporary artists since 2015, will host some 30 sculptures, from the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and from Italian public and private collections From Canova to Duprè, via Berthel Thorvaldsen and Lorenzo Bartolini,

Canova – Winged Love

the works in the exhibition constitute an exemplary journey that starts from the difficult construction of a new figurative language in the transition from the Empire to the Restoration, and reaches the mid-19th century, comparing sculpture in the Roman and Florentine spheres.It is three works byCanovaPortrait of Napoleon and Winged Love from the Hermitage, and the model of the Funeral Monument to Vittorio Alfieri(from the local Academy of Fine Arts)- that open the exhibition and mark the start of an itinerary in sculpture that branches out to Florence and Rome.In Florence, Lorenzo Bartolini’s teaching will be of paramount importance for his ability to ferry the sculptural language of neoclassical setting toward naturalism, through the purism of Ingres and the recovery of the classicism of the Florentine Renaissance: the Young Bacchus(the Ammostatore) that is exhibited here testimo.

nia the tension to renewal and adherence to a poetics of “Natural Beauty”.A group of sculptors active until beyond the middle of the century were to take up the lesson: Luigi Pampaloni,Aristodemo Costoli,Pio Fedi and Pasquale Romanelli, in whom the renewal of language proceeded hand in hand with the elaboration of Romantic themes. Emblematic of this trend are the two sculptural groups by Pasquale Romanelli(Raphael and the Fornarina) and Pio Fedi(Nello with Pia) from the Hermitage and the Gallery of Modern Art in Florence, respectively. Grafted onto these is the Sienese experience represented by an “outsider” like Giovanni Duprè, on display with five works including the abandoned Sappho from the GNAM in Rome, and by Tito Sarrocchi, who was a pupil of Bartolini and Duprè himself.

Giovanni Duprè – Abandoned Sappho.

Of a different sign is the Roman experience, in which the patronage of the Papacy, the great aristocratic families and European sovereigns on Grand Tour is still strongly linked to Canova’s classicism and the work of Thorvaldsen, to which the works of Emil Wolff and Rinaldo Rinaldi exhibited here bear witness.

After Canova’s death and Thorvaldsen’s return to Denmark, the Carraresi Pietro Tenerani, Luigi Bienaimè and Carlo Finelli became leading figures in sculpture in Rome, and although elements of novelty can be seen in their works, they fail, however, to free Roman sculpture from the weight of a tradition entirely functional to the tastes of patrons. The exhibition therefore focuses on this polarization of tastes and figurative intentions through an excursus among the best artists of the first half of the 19th century and through a sampling of works of great interest some of which are rarely exhibited to the public: such as Carlo Finelli ‘s The Three Graces in which the exquisitely Neoclassical theme is confronted with a creative process of Romantic sign.


Lorenzo Bartolini (Prato 1777 – Florence 1850).After his Florentine training, he moved to Paris in 1799, where he attended David’s studio and came to general attention.

Thanks to the interest of the imperial family, he was appointed professor of sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara in 1807 and became the official sculptor of the Bonaparte family.

From 1815 he returned to Florence, where it was not easy for him to make people forget his recent political ties and especially to profess his now decidedly anti-classical artistic ideas.

However, he found several admirers in the foreign colony settled in Florence, and the qualities of his sculpture were soon recognized in Italy and abroad.

At least the Trust in God and the Scorpion Nymph, praised without half-measures by Baudelaire when it was presented at the Paris Salon of 1845, should be noted among his best-known works.

Aristodemo Costoli (Florence 1803 – 1871)

He was born in Florence to Francesco and Anna Masoni on September 6, 1803. At the young age of twelve he enrolled in the Florentine Academy where he studied with the painters Pietro Ermini, Giuseppe Bezzuoli and Pietro Benvenuti His first works are in fact paintings: Santa Filomena (on the altar of S. Pietro in Careggi), two self-portraits (Modern Art Gallery of Palazzo Pitti). His studies were later directed to sculpture, under master Stefano Ricci.

In 1832 he received the prestigious commission for the monument to Galileo to be placed on the Galileo tribune in the Specola Museum. Along with that of Galileo, Costoli’s best-known sculpture is the Pegasus in the Boboli Gardens, which gives its name to a spectacular gently sloping lawn . The Pegasus was even used for some years as a mobile stage machine during performances of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, which took place inside the garden; in fact, the horse rested on an iron carriage, which ran on tracks that still exist.

By now nationally known, Costoli received numerous prestigious commissions, not only in Florence but also in other Italian cities.

Giovanni Duprè (Siena 1817 – Florence 1882)

He was born in Siena on the street that now bears his name, the son of a wood carver. Giovanni also trained as a carver, in the workshop of Paolo Sani, located in Piazza San Biagio. He later moved to Florence, where he attended the Academy of Fine Arts and where he was a pupil in Luigi Magi’s workshop, as Dupré himself recalls in his Pensieri sull’arte e ricordi autobiografici (Ed. Le Monnier, 1906).

The work that gave him fame from his youth was a Dying Abel (marble, 1842), modeled when he was just twenty-five years old. After procuring the necessary materials and renting a small studio in front of the Church of Saints Simon and Judas, he identified at the Academy’s nude course the one who was to serve as his model: Antonio Petrai known as the Brina.

The work took up much of 1842, and the two even risked death from a fire caused by the stove Dupré had procured for himself.

TheAbele was a great success with the public and was praised by Lorenzo Bartolini and Luigi Pampaloni, but others criticized it harshly, claiming that Dupré had made a cast from life rather than modeling the statue. They even went so far as to strip the Petrai to prove it, but the action instead made it clear that the dimensions of the model did not match the dimensions of the marble at all. The work was purchased by the Tsar of Russia and is now in the Hermitage.

A year later he thus executed Cain, an upright sculpture in the round of a more academic setting; it too is in the Hermitage.

Pio Fedi (Viterbo 1816 – Florence 1892)

He trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence and also visited Vienna, for two years, from 1837 to 1838. From his youth his production is particularly rich in drawings and sketches. In those years two currents in sculpture clashed in Florence, and he first followed the purist line and then moved closer to that of ideal realism. He sculpted two sculptures for the loggia of the Uffizi(Nicola Pisano – signed – and Andrea Cesalpino), but his best-known work is the Rape of Polyxena, with its vivid dynamism, the only modern sculpture chosen to figure in the Loggia della Signoria (1866).

His many works also include the Freedom of Poetry for the funeral monument of Giovan Battista Niccolini in Santa Croce, the design of the Monument to General Manfredo Fanti in Piazza San Marco in Florence, or the statue of Pietro Torrigiani in the Torrigiani Garden. In 1876, he reconstructed the lions of the fountain in Viterbo’s Piazza delle Erbe.

His studio was located from 1842 on Via dei Serragli, in the former church of the vanished Santa Chiara monastery that is still referred to as the Pio Fedi Gallery.

Luigi Pampaloni (Florence 1791 – 1847)

He was a pupil of Lorenzo Bartolini at the Academy of Carrara and returned to Florence following Napoleonic constraints. Among his early works are small alabaster busts of Napoleon himself, arriving in 1811 to enter the commissions of Elisa Bonaparte as a follower of the esteemed Bartolini. At the Pitti Palace he executed for the princess of Etruria the stucco lunettes of the bath, with typically neoclassical bas-reliefs: Galatea, the Bath of Venus and the Abduction of Ganymede

From 1826 he worked, with Giovannozzi, on the fountain in Piazza della Collegiata in Empoli. The same year he received a commission from the Polish nobleman Franciszeck Potocki for a praying putto, (a copy, perhaps the one owned by the Mastiani Brunacci family, is in Capannoli at Baldini Orlandini Irene) among his best achievements. The statue had considerable notoriety and he was asked for many copies, even from abroad. In 1840 an account by Tosio reports a Parisian querelle between those who claimed that his putto was instead a work by Canova.

Also for a Polish commission he made the funerary sculpture for Princess Maria Radziwiłłł, and in the early 1830s he went to the court of Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies. In 1833 he made a statue of Peter Leopold for the Piazza Santa Caterina in Pisa.

A portrait bust of Marie Antoinette of Bourbon, sister of Ferdinand II and second wife of the Grand Duke of Tuscany Leopold II, dates from 1834. Soon afterwards he sculpted the two statues of Filippo Brunelleschi and Arnolfo di Cambio placed in the Palazzo dei Canonici in Florence’s Piazza del Duomo. In 1836 he sculpted a Venus kept in the Sala del Cenacolo of the Accademia in Florence.

Between 1837 and 1839 he sculpted the statue of Leonardo da Vinci for the Uffizi square. Among the funerary sculptures he sculpted the monument to Lucien Bonaparte and that to Giulia Clary-Bonaparte, wife of Joseph Bonaparte. The latter statue was finished in 1847 and placed in the Bonaparte Chapel (formerly Giugni) in the basilica of Santa Croce, in front of the monument to Carlotta Bonaparte by his master Bartolini.

Raffaello Romanelli (Florence 1856 – 1928)

Professor Raffaello Romanelli was a member of a family of sculptors consisting of his father Pasquale Romanelli, his son Romano. It was precisely with his father that he began his artistic studies, then enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, was a student of Augusto Rivalta (a pupil of Giovanni Dupré, and once graduated began working in the family atelier. In 1880 he won the Rome pensione with a Muzzio Scevola, and was awarded the Academy’s quadrennial prize with the work L’Indemoniato che si Gettare ai Piedi di Cristo. At age 30, in 1889 he was elected judge for Italy in the Arts section for the Exposition Universelle in Paris.

Already as a young man he won many competitions, both national and international, being particularly appreciated in the United States, many of his works can be found in Detroit and Kansas City, where a park, the Romanelli Garden, was even dedicated to him, and in Romania, where he was the official artist of the royal family, of whom he painted four portraits, and where he created 40 works.

In Italy, on the other hand, his major works include the monument to King Carlo Alberto, the monument to Giuseppe Garibaldi in Siena, the bust of Benvenuto Cellini on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, and Donatello’s cenotaph in the basilica of San Lorenzo, also in Florence. He also worked in Livorno, where he was responsible for the sculptural decorations of the Bastogi chapel in the Misericordia cemetery and the bust to Benedetto Brin. But his fame is linked to the large bronze group he erected to the “students who fell at Curtatone” in the Univestià in Siena and the colossal equestrian monument to Charles Albert in the garden of the Quirinal Palace in Rome. He taught at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence.

Tito Sarrocchi (Siena 1824 – 1900)

Of humble origins, he had to provide for his siblings after the death of his mother. From an early age he attended the workshop involved in the restoration of Siena Cathedral, taking an interest in art and especially sculpture. He moved in 1841 to Florence, where he took evening courses at the Academy of Fine Arts with Lorenzo Bartolini and later joined the workshop of Giovanni Dupré, his fellow citizen.

In 1852 he created his first independent work, La Baccante, and in 1855 he was chosen to finish the monument to Giuseppe Pianigiani, begun by Enea Becheroni. He returned to Siena and created many works: a Michelangelo Buonarroti for Villa Lucarini Saracini, The Genius of Death, The Theological Virtues, Tobias and The Vision of Ezekiel for the cemetery in Siena, the Civil Monument to the Fallen in Piazza dell’Indipendenza, and the monument to Sallustio Bandini in Piazza Salimbeni.

His most famous works also include some reproductions of ancient sculptural works removed from exposure to the elements to preserve them. They include Jacopo della Quercia’s Fonte Gaia, sculptures for Siena Cathedral and those for Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence. For this church he also collaborated on the new facade, sculpting the bas-relief of the enthroned Mary with a scepter of flowers on the pediment of the central portal. In 1879 he created the Monument to the Fallen in the War of Independence, now in the gardens of Pannilunghi Avenue in San Prospero, Siena.


Luigi Bienaimè (Carrara 1785 – Rome 1878)

Having attended the Accademia di Belle Arti in Carrara, he moved in 1818 to Rome, where he entered the studio of Bertel Thorvaldsen, to remain there, as a helper and then as director, until the Danish master’s death.

In this capacity he executed by his own hand numerous copies of Thorvaldsen’s sculptures, not neglecting the creation of his own works of invention, which, although influenced by the master’s style, denote a charge of sentiment, entirely alien to the Danish master’s style.

Highly esteemed by Tsar Nicholas I, Louis Bienaimé worked extensively for the court and aristocracy of St. Petersburg, a city in which numerous copies of his most famous sculptures are preserved.

Upon Thorvaldsen’s death, he also inherited his position as a member emeritus at the Academy of St. Luke.

Antonio Canova (Possagno 1757 – Venice 1822)

Universally regarded as the greatest exponent of Neoclassicism, Antonio Canova was one of the leading sculptors of any era, soon to be called “the new Phidias” for this reason.

His training and apprenticeship took place entirely in Venice, where he made his first sculptures and won his first awards.

At twenty-two, he moved to Rome, where he won a leading role in the last season of European prominence in Italian art.

An absolute singer of ideal beauty, devoid of affectation, condensed in groups of figures, such as the Three Graces or the two different versions of Cupid and Psyche, in such absolute masterpieces as the Italic Venus and Pauline Borghese, Antonio Canova had a decisive influence in determining the character and quality of European sculpture between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Carlo Finelli (Carrara 1782 – Rome 1853)

Carlo Finelli began his artistic training in Florence, then moved to Milan, and from there to Rome, where he attended Canova’s studio, and immediately gained wide appreciation, so much so that as early as 1814 he was appointed academician of San Luca.

He began from this time an intense production of works, mainly on mythological subjects, to meet the needs of a wealthy international collector, especially English and Russian, producing among other things his masterpiece, the Dancing Hours in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.

Despite widespread recognition, from the 1930s onward Finelli moved completely away from mythological subjects, which were too closely linked to the neoclassical season, to deal with themes of religious intonation, in accordance with an interest that was becoming increasingly widespread in purist circles, especially in Rome.

Rinaldo Rinaldi (Padua 1793 – Rome 1873)

Protected by L. Cicognara, he studied in Venice, then in Rome with Antonio Canova; in 1830 he became academician of San Luca. He executed groups, portraits and funerary monuments including: Cephalus and Procri (in several replicas); the bust of Petrarch (Padua, Duomo); the monument of Count Cini (Rome, church of Jesus and Mary); Adonis and Chiron teaching Achilles (Venice, vestibule of the Accademia).

Pietro Tenerani (Carrara 1789- Rome 1869)

After studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara, he moved to Rome in 1814 to specialize with Antonio Canova and Bertel Thorvaldsen, and then embarked on an independent career, soon gaining wide acclaim and great recognition.

His works were soon sought after by the most prestigious collectors; his portraits, transfigured in his particular sense of the real, were highly coveted by the most famous personalities throughout Europe; some of his subject sculptures were replicated over and over again, to accommodate increasingly numerous and demanding requests.

Among the subscribers to the manifesto of Italian purism, he became in 1856 president of the Accademia di San Luca, then in 1858 president of the Capitoline Museums, and finally from 1860 director of the Vatican Museums.

Bertel Thorvaldsen(Copenhagen, 1770 – 1844)

It was not until August 29, 1796, that Thorvaldsen could finally begin his journey to Rome, where he arrived on March 8 of the following year due to stops in Malta and Naples. That date was later celebrated by the artist as his “Roman birthday”; in the Urbe Thorvaldsen called himself “Sculptor Albert.” Shortly after his arrival in Rome Thorvaldsen met the archaeologist Jörgen Zoega, who helped him in the study of classical antiquity and who in time also became his mentor, as well as the painter Asmus Jacob Carstens, who likewise took care of him. In 1797 Thorvaldsen opened his first studio at 119 Via del Babuino, in the studio previously used by the English sculptor John Flaxman.

When shortly before his fellowship expired Thorvaldsen sent his Bacchus and Ariadne to the Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, the latter extended funding for his Roman sojourn for another two years and in 1802 for an additional year. During this period, however, the Danish artist suffered considerable economic hardship and lived in political uncertainty. When Thorvaldsen was about to return to Copenhagen in 1803 together with the Berlin sculptor Hagemann, the departure was postponed for a few days; it was at this juncture that he met the English banker and collector Thomas Hope (formerly Flaxman’s patron), who commissioned him to translate Jason into marble. An early 1801 model of the subject had already been destroyed by Thorvaldsen, while a second-though highly praised by Georg Zoëga and Antonio Canova-did not please the artist. Various vicissitudes slowed down the work, however, so that it was not until 1828 that Thorvaldsen was able to finish the sculpture and send it to Hope in England. It remains a fact that the Danish sculptor achieved enormous success, which kept him in Italy until 1818. As proof of this he was a member of the prestigious Accademia di San Luca in Rome, of which he was also president in the years 1827-28.

Carl Conrad Albert Wolff (Neustrelitz,1814 – Berlin 1892)

Son of sculptor and architect Christian Philipp Wolff (1772-1820) moved to Berlin in 1831 where his brother was already living. He studied with an old friend of his father’s, the famous sculptor Christian Daniel Rauch. The latter, in 1844, sent him to Carrara for the purpose of choosing the best marbles for making the statues for the upper terrace of the Sans-Souci Castle. Wollf stayed two years in Italy and, back in Berlin, assisted Rauch in the creation of his monument to Frederick the Great. He received commissions, such as one from Countess Raczynska, who had herself represented in the guise of Hygieia for a fountain in Poznań, and as a marble Crucifixion with the Virgin Mary and John, for the church in Kamenz.

Wolff created two works Bacchus and the Panther, in marble that can be seen in the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin.In 1886, Wolff became a professor at the Prussian Academy of Arts having Ludwig Cauere Wilhelm Wandschneider as his students. His son Martin Wolff became a fairly well-known sculptor.