Antonio Canova

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.

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.

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.