Plaster models of Rezzonico lions, Antonio Canova, Accademia Galleries
About the project
These two plaster models of lions were made by Antonio Canova after 1792 and given to the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Venice by his studio assistant Antonio d’Este in 1840.
They were used as models by the students when the schools of the Accademia were in the Palladio Wing adjoining the Accademia Galleries.
After the school moved, the Palladio Wing was the subject of extensive refurbishment, to which Venice in Peril contributed. This included the installation, in 2015, of new rooms and a Canova ‘corridor’ where a number of the sculptor’s works in plaster, including the lions, are now displayed.
Known as the ‘Rezzonico’ lions, they are models of the travertine lions made by Canova for the tomb of Carlo Rezzonico, the Venetian Pope Clement XIII (1693-1769).
One lion is shown awake, representing the energetic work of the Pope, the other asleep, symbolizes his moderation.
The conservator, Daniele Angellotto, also treated Canova’s Bozzetti, a separate project, and the gesso preparatory panels that Canova made for the metopes on the church he built for his home town of Possagno in the Veneto
How to find it
- These two plaster lions are models of those on Pope Clement XIII’s tomb in St Peter’s, Rome.
- Used as teaching aids in the Accademia delle Belle Arti from 1840 until recently they had suffered wear and tear over the years.
- Daniele Angellotto, who specialises in the restoration, conservation and repair of plaster and clay, treated the lions for old breakages, renewal of repairs, renovation of the internal wood and metal supports and reconditioning of the gesso surfaces.
- Click on small images to see the lions after conservation.
- Other Venice in Peril projects with Canova associations include some of his preparatory bozzetti and the Cattedra Cicognara, both in the Accademia Galleries, as well as the monument to Canova in the Basilica of the Frari.
- For information about the Accademia Galleries.