Canova: Sketching in Clay

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'This beautiful catalogue combines up-to-date scholarship and scientific analysis, stunning photography by Luigi Spina (close-ups reveal Canova’s fingerprints) with an elegantly understated design that cleverly mimics the raw material in discussion' - The Art Newspaper

A landmark publication examining the clay models and creative process of the preeminent neoclassical sculptor Antonio Canova

The most celebrated sculptor of the neoclassical age, Antonio Canova (1757-1822) established himself as the preeminent artist of his time with his funerary monuments and meticulously carved marbles on classical themes. Although his idealized and sensual sculptures are widely known, this is the first book devoted entirely to the brilliantly expressive clay models that he made in preparation for his marble sculptures. Only sixty-five of his terracotta models survive today.

Extraordinarily modern in their boldness, the models retain the touch of the artist's hand and yield a revelatory glimpse into Canova's imaginative and technical process.   The authors, with expertise in art history and conservation, examine Canova's techniques for making terracotta models, including how he used clay to develop full-scale models that his assistants copied in marble, and his practice of gifting his models to friends.

Distributed for the National Gallery of Art, Washington 

Exhibition Schedule: National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (June 11-October 9, 2023) Art Institute of Chicago (November 19, 2023- March 18, 2024) 


  • Author: CD Dickerson III, senior curator of European and American art at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC and Emerson Bowyer,  Searle Curator of Painting and Sculpture of Europe at the Art Institute of Chicago.
  • Hardcover: 280 pages | 190 colour illustrations
  • Date published: May 2023
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 9780300269758
  • Product Dimensions: 27.1 x 21.9 cm

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