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Buy a masterpiece
with us

A Fundraising Campaign

Buy a Masterpiece with us

A Fundraising Campaign

A new ambitious project for the Museo Gypsotheca Antonio Canova: A fundraising campaign aimed at acquiring Giorgione’s Self-Portrait by Canova.

The success of the campaign will allow us to:
● Make the painting available to the public, as it is now owned privately.
● Enrich the museum’s heritage. The museum is the heart of Canova’s historical and
artistic memory, and we wish to welcome this painting home.
● Contextualize the painting within Canova’s artistic journey.

The Museum believes this campaign to be particularly relevant for social, historical, artistic, and economic reasons. In addition to public and private institutions, the Museum will involve corporate and single donors.

For the most generous donations, the Museum has implemented a series of rewards that both single and corporate donors can take advantage of. For more information contact:

Images from the Campaign for the acquisition of Giorgione’s Self-Portrait by Antonio Canova

Behind the painting

This painting depicts the celebrated Venetian painter Giorgione, who lived around 1500. Canova painted it in 1792 and was able to infer Giorgione’s appearance from written sources, including Vasari’s Lives of the Artists (1568).

Once Canova completed the painting, the artist gifted it to his close friend Abbondio Rezzonico, Roman senator, with the sole condition that Rezzonico must claim that the painting was by Giorgione himself. To accomplish the ruse, the two friends organized a banquet in the senator’s Roman palace and invited several esteemed guests, including artists, scholars, and art experts. Once the guests had arrived, the painting was unveiled, and the party then spent the rest of the lunch praising the work and the mastery of the color without ever doubting its authenticity. When it came time for coffee, Canova entered the room and joined them in conversation about the painting.

More than a year went by before the two admitted their hoax. According to the testimony of one of Canova’s earliest biographers, Smythe Memes, writing in 1825, everyone found great delight in the whole matter.

To further enhance the credibility of his “forgery,” Canova reused a panel from the sixteenth century that had originally depicted a Holy family. He also kept the painting’s original Roman gilded frame. As is evident, the painting carries with it an interesting and peculiar story that reveals a less known and humorous side of our artist, in addition to having a high artistic value.

Antonio Canova, Giorgione’s Self-Portrait
1792, Oil on panel, 72,5×64 cm

Our friends and supporters based in the United States can support our activities through a
contribution to the Friends of Antonio Canova Fund at the King Baudouin Foundation United
States (KBFUS), a U.S. public charity within the meaning of Sections 501(c)(3) and
509(a)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Donors may be eligible for a U.S. income tax deduction for their contributions to the extent
permitted by U.S. tax law. In accordance with U.S. tax law, KBFUS retains complete control
and discretion over amounts contributed to the Fund.

To make a contribution to the Fund, here is how to proceed:

● Gifts by check: make the check out to KBFUS and write Friends of Antonio Canova
Fund in the memo section of the check, and send it to: KBFUS, 551 Fifth Avenue,
Suite 2400, New York, NY 10176.
● Gifts by credit card: visit the KBFUS page
● Gifts by wire transfer or to contribute other types of property: contact KBFUS at phone (212) 713 7660.

Canova and the States

Antonio Canova, George Washington
1818, plaster

In 1815, with the advice of Thomas Jefferson and Joseph Hopkinson, the state of North Carolina commissioned Antonio Canova to sculpt a celebratory monument in honor of the first President of the United States, George Washington. The sculpture arrived in 1821 but was destroyed shortly after in a fire in the statehouse in North Carolina.

To celebrate the two-hundred-year anniversary of the realization of the sculpture, the Museo Gypsotheca Antonio Canova lent the plaster model that Canova realized in 1818 to the Frick Collection in New York. The plaster was the focal point on the exhibition Canova’s George Washington, which ran between May 2017 and August 2018.

This year the Museo Gypsotheca Antonio Canova will strengthen its relationship with America by lending a significant group of Canova’s masterpieces to the National Gallery of Art in Washington and The Art Institute in Chicago. These will feature in the exhibition Canova: Sketching in Clay, which opens on June 8 and will run through the summer and fall.