Antonio Canova and British Public Sculpture
by Dr Alessio Costarelli
The enthusiastic response of British Society to Antonio Canova’s work at the beginning of the nineteenth century was one of the most important factors in his European success. The reciprocal affection between Canova and British travellers to Italy was evident early in the sculptor’s career, although his celebrated reputation within Britain developed more gradually, following a debate in Britain on the inappropriateness of allowing a foreign artist to create a national monument. The history of Canova’s three public sculptures for Great Britain, two of which remained no more than projects, forms a fascinating chapter in the cultural relationship between the most powerful nation of the age and the leading European artist of his time.
Alessio Costarelli, PhD in Art History, is Research Fellow in the Department of Visual Art at the University of Bologna. His research centres on the history of 18th and 19th century sculpture and architecture in Italy and Europe, with special attention to the art of Antonio Canova. Alessio’s publications include editing Iustitia et Pax Osculatae Sunt. La Giustizia come fonte o garante di Pace nelle Scienze Umanistiche (2018), a collection of interdisciplinary studies on the cultural connections between concepts of Justice and Peace in ancient and modern european thought;Democrito Gandolfi (2020) based on his Master Degree Thesis and Canova e gli Inglese (2022) the subject of his PhD Thesis.