A Bust of Canova by Adamo Tadolini Acquired by the Rijksmuseum

Adamo Tadolini (1788-1868)
Portrait of Antonio Canova, after 1822
Marble - 62 x 53 x 40 cm
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum
Photo : Galerie Perrin

16/3/14 - Acquisition - Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum - The Rijksmuseum added yet another work to its collections at the Maastricht Fair by acquiring a bust of Canova sculpted by Adamo Tadolini from the Perrin Gallery. The manner in which the transaction took place will no doubt set many French museums to dreaming for its simplicity and speed : an anonymous private collector bought it then immediately donated it to the institution.

Canova’s aged features, represented with stark reality, lead us to think that this portrait, which resembles the sculptor’s funeral mask, was perhaps executed as a posthumous tribute by his student. Adamo Tadolini was very close to the master, working with him and at times producing works in a style which is difficult to distinguish from Canova’s himself. For example, there are two groups of Zeus and Ganymede, one residing at the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, the other one in Chatsworth whose proximity to Canova is quite remarkable. In 1818, the master turned his Roman studio located in via del Babuino, over to Adamo Tadolini ; it is now a museum.

As pointed out by the entry provided by the Perrin gallery, the sculptor was also influenced by Roman Baroque art, as illustrated by a sculpture in gilt and silver-plated stucco of an Angel Bearing the Holy Scriptures for the church of the Ges├╣ and the bronze statue of Simon Bolivar in Caracas which recalls that of Louis XIV by Bernini in its composition although the style is much more Classical. This bust from the Rijksmuseum also alludes to Bernini’s busts, notably for the manner in which the drapery is treated.

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Didier Rykner, dimanche 16 mars 2014

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