Canova's Three Graces art expo - Possagno, Italy

Friday, February 14, 2014

Sometimes you don't have to go too far from your hometown to see incredible places, monuments, art expos or simply masterpieces. It's incredible how some people have visited more than a hundred countries worldwide, but do not know at all their same region or where they come from.

This time, Diaries of an explorer comes back to its favourite environment, which is going off the beaten tracks. Possagno is a little town, not far from Asolo, one of the best small towns in Italy, called Borghi d'Italia, from my hometown and Venice.

Possagno was the place of birth of one of the most appreciated and famous Italian artists, Antonio Canova (1757 - 1822), Neoclassical painter and sculptor of marble sculptures. In this little town, you can find the Canova Museum, called Museo e Gipsoteca Antonio Canova.

The art expo involves one of his main sculptures, the Three Graces, in italian Le Grazie, whose marble models are showed in the Saint Petersburg's Hermitage, in Russia, and every 7 years between the National Gallery of Edinburgh and the London's Victoria & Albert Museum. The models were delivered in 1812 to Josephine de Beauharnais first and then to Joseph Russell, Duke of Bedford in 1819.

The one exposed in these days ( from the 6th of December 2013 to the 4th of May 2014) is the original plaster model created by Antonio Canova, that was damaged by a grenade blast in 1917 during the World War I. This model has been restored by using a 3D reverse engineering technique and now it's finally exposed in the Canova Museum.

I'm not an art critique, expert and so on: so I will leave the explanation to someone that has more knowledge and experience than me, but trust me: you will feel completely breathless when you see this masterpiece! When you see the perfection of these statues, the lines and the grace of Aglaia, Eufrosine and Talia, you feel it is worth the ticket price! :-)

Diaries of an explorer
Source: www.visit-assisi.it
I will recommend you to see it directly here or in one of the mentioned museum above! Ah, I was forgetting to say that in Italian, when you say "Thank you", you say the plural "Grazie" ( Graces), as they symbolize beauty, intelligence and abudance and this is what you wish someone when you get something from him/her.

However, the Canova Museum has not only this masterpiece, but other interesting sections and models. You can see the Canova' portrait,
Diaries of an explorer
Source:www.seniorweb.ch
his studio, and the rooms where you can see the creation process of each model, from the sketches to the clay model, from the clay to the plaster model and from the plaster to the marble model. You can also see his Three Graces painting.

As you can see, all the pictures are taken from the web, as it's forbidden to take pictures inside the museum. However, you can take pictures outside it.
Diaries of an explorer
Diaries of an explorerThere are also nice gardens
Diaries of an explorer
Diaries of an explorer
Another fantastic part is represented by the Gypsotheque, an impressive collection of plaster models: unfortunately it's forbidden to take pictures.
Diaries of an explorer

I should spend a post over each of these plaster sculpures, but I will show you only the ones that most impressed me: the first one was Theseus and the Centaur.
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the Monument to Marie Christine from Austria, that reminded me the Dying Lion of Lucerne,
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and the Dancer.
Diaries of an explorer
I would definitely recommend you to visit this fantastic museum: it's worth every penny you spend.

Once left the museum, the other important landmark of Possagno is the Canova's Temple ( Tempio Canoviano), a great Neoclassical construction built over the Col Draga, that dominates the entire town of Possagno, and completed in 1832, after Canova's death.
Diaries of an explorer

You just need to walk 5-10 minutes uphill and then you will find this great temple upon the hill: look at the cobblestone paving with its artistic forms.
Diaries of an explorer
The temple is divided in the three parts: the columnade, that reminds the Athens Parthenon, the central part, similar to the Roman Pantheon and the apsis, representing three epoques: the Greek, the Roman and the Christian one.
Before going into the temple, you can see two nice things: the columnade the cobblestone paving.
Diaries of an explorer
Diaries of an explorer
Once in the temple, if you look "up in the air", you can see the dome
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and in front of you the altar
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The style is simple, but extremely effective and attractive, with some important points of interests such as the Canova's grave
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the Deposition over the altar, painted by Canova,
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the Canovian version of the Piety,
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and also paintings like this one.
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By paying 1,5 Euros, you have the possibility to go over the dome and enjoy the landscape of the Venetian hills, mountains and countryside:
Diaries of an explorer
Diaries of an explorer
As you can see, the dome is built with stone scales
and when you go down again, it's time to enjoy the Creation of World.
Diaries of an explorer

Travel tips:

  • It takes approximately 3-4 hours to visit the Canova Museum and the Temple.
  • The Canova Museum is part of the so-called Museums Island, or Isola dei Musei, of the province of Treviso.
  • Before leaving Possagno, I would recommend you to stop by the patisserie Aurora and taste their fantastic specialty, the meringues.
  • It can be a great place if you want to discover this region and you can combine it together with Asolo
  • Possagno is definitely for these two attractions can considered one of the off the beaten path places to visit.
Where to sleep:
  • Budget accomodation: B&B Valdeator, a nice b&b located at 1,3 km from Possagno, in Castelucco, breakfast included, 60 Euros per night per double room.
  • Medium budget: Country House Barone d´Asolo, located in the exclusive Asolo, at 6 km from Possagno, breakfast included, prices between 90-100 Euros per room per person.
  • Luxury budget: Hotel Villa Cipriani, also located in the exclusive Asolo, at 6,3 km from Possagno, breakfast included, prices around 250 Euros per room per person.

This is Veneto:my land!

4 commenti:

Cocoa and Lavender said...

Canova's works are truly exquisite! This is my first viewing of Le Grazie, and I look forward to seeing it (them!) in person someday. I also love the temple and the scaled tiles on the dome. And, to be honest (and not a very good speaker of Italian), I never knew why we used the plural of 'grace' when we thank someone. I love learning all these things from your posts, Marco!

Marco Zannin said...

Thanks a lot David! I visited many times the temple, but do you realize that I visited for the first time the Canova Museum in my life? and it's just 20km far from Montebelluna! :-) I was really impressed by his sculptures and when I was in front of Le Grazie I felt completely breathless...

Thanks a lot for the compliments, I learned this during the presentation of this exposition by the professor and the director of the museum...so until some days ago I didn't know this either lol!!!

hotel Treviso said...

Someday I will definitely visit this place. The article inspired me a lot, Thanks :)

Marco Zannin said...

You should definitely visit the museum and the temple! They are really stunning and something you should not miss in our province, especially if you live in Treviso or in the surroundings...

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