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About the exhibition
At the apex of his artistic career, when he was one of the most appreciated living sculptors in Europe, Antonio Canova developed a new concept of bust sculpture, which was named ‘Teste Ideali’ (the Italian for Ideal Heads). GAM Milano celebrates this special production with the exhibition ‘Canova. Ideal Heads’ featuring a selection of female busts where the artist analyses the different variations of the ideal classical beauty.
The works on display
The exhibition revolves around three important masterpieces: the original gypsum of “Ebe”, “Napoleon’s” bronze bust and the herma of the “Vestalis”. Inspired by the female portraits of the Bonaparte family, who used to depict women in a deity-like attire, transformed according to political circumstances and mainly idealized, in the second half of the 18th century Antonio Canova studied the variations of female beauty thanks to slight variations in their facial expressions. Staring from the Neo-classical marble statue of the Vestalis, up to busts of mythological characters such as Erato and Polyhymnia, or personalities from the world of literature like Helena, Sappho and Corinna up personified concepts like philosophy and gratitude, the exhibition gathers a collection of less-known busts that retrace this stylistic study. Divided into 5 sections, the exhibition interacts with the beautifully-decorated Neo-Classical volumes of the ground floor of Villa Reale, playing with mirrors, reflections and perspectives to retrace Canova’s diktats to display the works.