The nude seemingly made flesh in marble was the specialty of Venetian sculptor Antonio Canova (1757–1822) one of the greatest practitioners in the medium and a key proponent of the Neoclassical style. But as this show demonstrates, he took a bit of a departure from the work that established his reputation for the final project of his life: a plan to illustrate 32 scenes from the Bible as a suite of reliefs, intended for the Tempio Canoviano, the Palladian-style church (which later became his mausoleum) that he built for his hometown of Possagno, northwest of Venice. He managed to complete only seven clay models for the series before his death at age 65. The Met collected those studies for their first appearance in the United States.
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