Canova Rezzonico Lions

24/06/2013

Canova Rezzonico Lions


Currently in storage at the Gallerie dell’Accademia are two plaster casts which Canova made some time after 1792 from the two crouching lions made of polished travertine for the tomb of Pope Clement XIII (1693-1769) in St. Peter's in Rome. Venetian by birth, Pope Clement XIII was born Carlo Rezzonico.


The Vatican guide to St.Peter's describes them as  "two superb lions, among the most beautiful creations by Canova …. The one awake, on the left, represents the energetic work of the Pope while the one asleep, on the right, symbolizes his moderation."


Canova gave the casts to his studio assistant, Antonio d'Este, whose son donated them to the Accademia delle Belle Arti in 1840 and they were used there as models for the students until relatively recently.


Restoration work will involve making good untreated breakages, one in particular affecting a rear paw of one of the lions, the renewal of old repairs, the renovation/replacement of the internal wood and metal framework and the cleaning and reconditioning of the gesso surfaces. The lions’ wooden pedestals will also be restored.


Like the group of preparatory models by Canova, whose restoration was financed by ViP in 2012, the lions will go on show in the Canova Room at the Grande Accademia when it opens in 2014.

The project will be directed by Dr. Matteo Ceriana, the Director of the Accademia, and the work carried out by Daniele Angellotto, who restored the Canova bozzetti for Venice in Peril Fund last year and has recently restored the gesso preparatory panels Canova made for the metopes on the temple at Possagno.

The entire cost of the operation will be covered by a generous donation from Trustee Marina Morrisson Atwater.

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