Male Nude, Damoxenos of Syracuse, from Pausanias's description of the Nemean Games in his "Itinary" of Greece (2nd century BC), 1794 (pen and ink), Canova, Antonio (1757-1822) / Museo Correr, Venice, Italy / The Bridgeman Art Library
Antonio Canova (1757 – 1822) was an unrivaled Italian sculptor, internationally renowned for his Neoclassic works. Inspired by Antiquity, Canova expressed idealistic purity in his immense sculptures and bas-reliefs. Calling his anatomical studies the secret of his art, he also observed performers’ expressions and movements, and immersed himself in ancient and modern history. Canova’s works, which were characterized by a soft, mellow finish, were highly sought after by esteemed leaders such as Napoleon, Catherine the Great of Russia and the Duke of Wellington.