CANOVA, Antonio (1757-1822). Italian sculptor.
Autograph Letter Signed to ('il vostro amico vero C.') to 'Signora Teresa', 1½ pages 4to with address on the second side, Paris, 25 October 1815.
Informing her that he has spoken to Prince Metternich again to remind him why he had recommended 'T' so highly for Andreolli's job [presumably the job of Carlo Andreoli as Austrian agent in Rome], reporting that Secretary Lafloret seems favourable and that Metternich appears to be disposed to give 'T' responsibility for the fine arts, having assured him that when 'T' arrives in Italy he will be hired; Canova expresses the hope that all this will happen ('... Please God that all this works out as we desire and as I wish for with my whole heart; but in any event there will be a job of some kind. ...'), recommends that 'T' be in Rome for Holy Week, suggests that she and 'T' let him know if there is anything anything alse he can do to assist, mentions that he is leaving for London shortly and ends by urging her to look after herself and to embrace her children for him and to give his kind regards to 'T', in Italian.
The subject of Canova's and Signora Teresa's patronage has not been identified. Canova was well-placed to seek the favour of Metternich since the latter was a great admirer of the sculptor's work. In 1816 Metternich purchased a version of Canova's Venus which was prominently placed in the library of his mansion in Vienna. In his own records of a visit to Canova's studio Metternich noted that Canova reminded him 'of the best days of Greece.' He was also to be an important supporter for the project for Canova's funeral monument. Canova never married, whicxh may account for his special interest in his correspondent's children (Hugh Honour, Canova's Studio Practice, The Burlington Magazine, volume 114, 1972).
Canova's visit to England gratified a wish that he had long entertained. He particularly admired the historical painter Benjamin Robert Haydon for his championship of the Elgin Marbles. Haydon was virtually their guardian in England, while the government debated whether to buy them. Having ben shown the Marbles by Haydon (and given a cast of one of them by him), Canova's high opinion of them helped to tip the balance towards making the purchase. Haydon recorded: 'What became now of all the sneers at my senseless insanity about the Marbles. Canova, the great artist of Europe, to repeat word for word what I had been saying for seven years! His opinion could not be gainsaid.'
Provenance: formerly in the collection of A.M. Broadley.
The image is of the first side only.