Gypsotheca, Scarpa wing
The marble monument George Washington was requested in 1816 by the Parliament in North Carolina, to be placed in the Senate, in Raleigh. It was commissioned after the end of the war with England to celebrate dignity and to reclaim respect of the world. The choice of Canova as artist for this piece was advised by Thomas Jefferson and Joseph Hopkinson, that without a doubt indicated him as the only artist capable of portraying the glory and worth of the first President of the United States. Thomas Appleton, American consul in Etruria, gave him the job. For Canova the realization of the marble was the last phase of a long preparatory process, made of drawings, engravings, bozzetti and the precious life-sized plaster model. The one and only piece made for the U.S. was completed the 18th of April 1818. It depicts the President sitting and dressed as a austere leader of the ancient Roman Republic, that in addition to reflecting the popular classic iconography of that time, embodies the enlightenment and republican ideals at the base of the President’s political career. He is wearing an armor and chlamys, and after having laid the command cane and dagger on the floor, he dedicates himself to writing on the board he is holding with his left hand, onto which you can see engraved the Farewell Address – “George Washington / to the People of the United States – Friends and fellow Citizens”. Unfortunately, the magnificent artwork had a short life, a fire reduced it to fragments in 1831 after only ten-years from its inauguration.
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Fondazione Canova onlus, Possagno (TV)