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Wooden Bust of the Venus italica after Antonio Canova
Wooden Bust of the Venus italica after Antonio Canova - Sculpture Style Napoléon III Wooden Bust of the Venus italica after Antonio Canova -
Ref : 111833
Period :
19th century
Provenance :
Medium :
Oak wood
Dimensions :
l. 12.99 inch X H. 22.05 inch
Sculpture  - Wooden Bust of the Venus italica after Antonio Canova
Galerie Lamy Chabolle

Decorative art from 18th to 20th century

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Wooden Bust of the Venus italica after Antonio Canova

Bust of the Venus italica after Antonio Canova
Oak wood.
19th century.
H. 56 cm (with base) ; base : 12 cm; 33 cm wide at shoulders.

In a letter to the Directoire exécutif dated July 2, 1796, Bonaparte wrote:

"I saw in Florence the famous Venus that is missing from our Museum...”

This was the famous Venus Medici, then at the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence. In September 1800, it was one of the works shipped to Palermo to escape revolutionary looting. The shipment was in vain: the Bourbon-Sicilian family, then ruling the island, yielded to diplomatic pressure from the First Republic, particularly from Talleyrand. In 1803, the Venus Medici entered the Louvre, then named the “Musée Napoléon”.

A year earlier, in 1802, Louis I de Bourbon-Parme, King of Etruria, who was visiting Florence, had suggested to Antonio Canova that he sculpt a copy of the Medici Venus, which he knew was under the threat of revolutionary lootings. Not only did Canova agree to make a copy, but, as early as 1804, he also conceived the model for a Venus of his own invention. Based on this 1804 model, he sculpted two marble statues : the Venus of Monaco and the Venus italica. Canova never completed his copy of the Venus Medici. 

This Venus italica replaced the Venus Medici at the Uffizi until the fall of Napoleon, that is, until the Venus Medici was repatriated to its rightful place at the Uffizi on December 27, 1815.

There are several replicas of the Venus italica, including a marble bust now in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, where it entered the collections of the Shuvalov family in 1925, after having been looted by the Bolsheviks. 

This bust, judged to be from Canova's hand by the author of the catalog of Canova's works at the Hermitage, is the only bust of the Venus italica listed in Giuseppe Pavanello and Mario Praz's catalog of Canova's complete works. 

Old restoration of a small crack in the wood, about 4 cm.


Correspondance de Napoléon Ier publiée par ordre de l’Empereur Napoléon III, t. I, Paris, 1858.

Éouard Driault, Napoléon en Italie (1800-1812), Paris, 1906.

Nina Kosareva, Canova and his Works in the Hermitage, Saint-Petersbourg, 1961.

Francis Haskell and Nicholas Penny, Taste of the Antique. The Lure of Classical Sculpture. 1500-1900, New Haven, 1981.

Mario Praz et Giuseppe Pavanello, L’Opera completa del Canova, Milan, 1976.

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Wood Sculpture Napoléon III