Antonio Canova

Susan R. Stein: “Thomas Jefferson: Planting the Arts in America”

video still of Susan Stein giving lecture at podium

Susan R. Stein, Richard Gilder Senior Curator, Monticello

As an architect, designer, collector, and patron of the arts, Thomas Jefferson understood the importance of the arts in forging an American identity, especially through the recognition of its founders. This talk explores how and why Jefferson recommended that Europe’s most famous sculptor, Antonio Canova, receive the commission to execute the sculpture of George Washington for North Carolina’s state capitol.

This lecture is supported by the Robert H. Smith Family Foundation.

Susan P. Schoelwer: “Facing Washington: The Classical Tradition”

photo of Susan P. Schoelwer giving lecture at The Frick Collection

During George Washington’s eight years as America’s first president, artists struggled to create an image that suitably represented a republican head of state — an ordinary citizen temporarily invested with power, who embodied a fragile national identity. This lecture explores the tradition of Washington portraiture as it evolved during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, from Houdon to Canova.

This lecture is supported by the Robert H. Smith Family Foundation.

Christina Ferando: “Displays of Power: Canova’s Sculptures of Greatness”

photo of Christina Ferando giving lecture at The Frick Collection

One of the most talented sculptors of the early nineteenth century, Canova was frequently called on to immortalize the political, civic, and cultural leaders of Europe. When it came to his sculptures of powerful men and beautiful women, the artist was equally concerned with their display as he was with their form and carving. This lecture considers Canova’s heroic George Washington in light of his other depictions of greatness.

This lecture is supported by the Robert H. Smith Family Foundation.

Canova’s George Washington

Link to introductory video for the exhibition Canova's George Washington
Xavier F. Salomon, Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator at The Frick Collection, provides an introduction to the current exhibition, Canova’s George Washington, on view at The Frick Collection from May 23, 2018 to September 23, 2018.