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Title ANTONIO CANOVA AND THE TOMB TO VITTORIO ALFIERI.
Creator HENRY, JEAN.
Abstract This dissertation is a study of Antonio Canova's Tomb to Vittorio Alfieri (1803-10), located in the Church of Santa Croce, Florence, Italy. The central purpose has been to reconstruct the history of the tomb in its cultural and political setting, and to use this monument as a focus for examining Canova's political attitudes during the period of Napoleon's occupation of Italy.
Alfieri, a great literary precursor of Italian nationalism, lived for almost three decades with Luise Stolberg, Countess d'Albany. Together they opposed both the French Revolution and Napoleon's domination of Italy, and Alfieri became known as a champion of Italian unification. D'Albany commissioned the monument to Alfieri upon his death in 1803.
The relationship between Canova and his Neoclassical art on the one hand, and the origins of Italian nationalist sentiment on the other, have never been fully explored. A major unanswered question is whether Canova took a position with regard to the political ideologies of his day, and, if so, whether his position was reflected in the tomb to Alfieri. The famous figure of Italia depicted on the monument would suggest that indeed Canova intended the work to be not only a commemoration of the patriotic poet, but also a nationalist statement of his own.
Although Neoclassicism has enjoyed a renewal of scholarly interest in recent years, little work of a definitive nature has appeared on Canova, the acknowledged master of the style. Moreover, no critical analyses of his funerary works have been produced. This dissertation therefore also examines the Alfieri tomb in the context of Canova's other funerary monuments.
Chapter one traces Canova's stylistic development from his early Venetian training, with its late Baroque and Classical encounters, to his Roman period, when these two stylistic streams were synthesized in his work. The second chapter reviews his five major funerary monuments, as well as two unrealized projects, primarily from a stylistic viewpoint. The third chapter traces in detail the story of the commission of the Alfieri tomb, while the fourth chapter deals with its execution and erection. Chapter five provides a detailed stylistic analysis of the Alfieri monument and places it within the context of his other funerary monuments. The sixth chapter focuses on the highly important figure of Italia--its iconographic sources and style--and seeks to explain Canova's use of that symbol. The conclusion discusses the political after-effects of the tomb and the interpretations that contemporaries and later generations of Italians gave to it, and reviews the evidence that points to Canova's political intentions: at first he preferred to avoid political turmoil altogether, but events inextricably drew him into the world of Italian and international affairs; once involved, he formulated precise and consistent views. The dissertation concludes that under the impact of Napoleon's occupation of Italy, Canova developed a patriotic consciousness and a dislike for foreign domination. His final conception of the Alfieri monument aimed at celebrating the ideals for which Alfieri was famous and exhorting Italians of his day to resist oppression for the sake of liberty.
Subject(s) Fine Arts.
FSU Dissertations.
Description Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 41-09, Section: A, page: 3764.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--The Florida State University, 1978.
Contributor Florida State University.
Format 378 p.
Rights On campus use only.
PID 3084790
Number of views 1
Related collections
FSU Historic Electronic Theses and Dissertations > FSU Theses and Dissertations 1952-2002 (retrospective)


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