His heart is kept in Venice’s solemn Basilica dei Frari, but Antonio Canova’s body lies in his home town of Possagno. His paintings can be seen in his birthplace, but it is in the museum next door that his most sublime artworks can be found – the plaster and marble masterpieces.
Possagno also has a temple that was designed by Canova. He invested his personal wealth in the structure and eleven years passed between the laying of the first stone and the opening. It now stands out majestically against the backdrop of the surrounding hills.
We must not forget Canova’s “political” side. His work had close ties to the rise of Napoleon and he became his official portrait painter, but he often disagreed with the man himself. Indeed, he is said to be the person who responded to a French reproach for the sly thievery of Italians with the words “not all Italians are thieves, but Bonaparte is!”
Photos: APT – FAST – Treviso Historical Photo Archive