Library and Archive

Library and Archive


The Gypsotheca e Museo Antonio Canova hosts a valuable library that comprises three interesting sectors with thousands of books:

The first sector consists of more than 5,000 volumes by Professor Massimiliano Pavan (1920-1991), donated to the Museum by his family in 2009. The collection represents the profound interest of Professor Pavan, who taught Antique History at the Università la Sapienza di Roma, for the history of art, archeology, literature and for the classical world in general. Pavan also cooperated with the Enciclopedia Treccani and wrote the entry for “Antonio Canova” in the Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani. Moreover, he was the President of the Fondazione Canova from 1985 to 1991.

The second sector consists of the volumes donated by Professor Elena Bassi (1911–1999). These books mainly concentrate on the artistic culture of Venice. Not only was she a researcher and a scholar, but also a professor and the director of the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia. She made a significant critical contribution to the revaluation of the Canovian work.

The third sector comprises the so-called Canovian library that consists of thousands of volumes on the culture, the life and the artworks of Antonio Canova: catalogs, monographic books, guides, reviews, minutes of conferences, historical publications, lithographs, volumes that cannot be found anywhere else and much more.

Most the Library books are classified in the OPAC database and can be consulted upon request.



Possagno hosts two extraordinary archives: one is owned by the Fondazione Canova, the other one by the Opera del Tempio.

The first archive consists of the administrative acts related to the period in which Canova lived in Rome, such as purchase supporting documents, payment orders to engravers, designers and printers for the making of his sculptures’ catalog, other accounting documents related to the production, the setup and the sale of his works of art. Moreover, the archive hosts many documents related to the Parisian mission undertaken by Canova to take back to Italy the Italian masterpieces stolen by Napoleon. The archive also hosts important documents related to the history of the Gypsotheca of Possagno, the statutes of the Fondazione Canova Onlus, the financial records and the destruction of the works of art during the First World War.

The archive of the Opera del Tempio is a comprehensive collection of documents related to the construction and the consecration of the Temple in Possagno. It also comprises the acts, the deliberations and the correspondence of the organization founded by Bishop Sartori, stepbrother of Canova, for the management and administration of the Temple.