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    Description

    IMPORTANT PLASTER MODEL OF THE EMPRESS MARIE-LOUISE EN CONCORDE BY ANTONIO CANOVA (Italian, 1757-1822)
    84 x 56 x 44 inches (213.4 x 142.2 x 111.8 cm)
    The cast attributed to Giovanni Battista Sartori and the architect Francesco Lazzari, 1832.

    Antonio Canova (1757-1822) was the pre-eminent sculptor of European Neoclassicism and exerted an influence in the world of sculpture every bit the equal to that of Jacques-Louise David in painting. After his early formation in Passagno and Venice, he received a pension from the Venetian Senate and moved to Rome. By 1800, he was the preferred sculptor of The Vatican, the Hapsburg Emperors, and Napoleon Bonaparte.
    It was, in fact, Napoleon who commissioned this sculpture of Marie-Louise, the eldest child of the Hapsburg Emperor Francis I. After a series of military victories over the Austrians, Napoleon was anxious to consolidate his success on the field of battle with a political alliance. In a word, he was anxious to marry a member of one of Europe's royal houses to consolidate his young empire. To this end, he married Marie-Louise in April 1811. Although she was raised to despise the French, the marriage was a fair success and she bore him a son, named the King of Rome. However, Napoleon's disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812 resulted in his defeat by the combined armies of the English and the Prussians in 1814 and his exile to Elba. Marie-Louise was awarded the Duchies of Parma. Piacenza, and Guastalla in the Treaty of Versailles. She returned to the court of her father and never saw Napoleon again.
    In 1809, Napoleon invited Canova to Paris and offered him the position of Superintendent of Beaux Arts. Canova declined the position, but spent the fall of 1810 between Paris and Fontainbleau where he had approximately six sessions with the reluctant young Empress-to-be. By the end of October, Canova proposed to Napoleon that he represent Marie-Louise "en Concorde" in the most beautiful carrara and as quickly as possible. Napoleon had already commissioned a work from the sculptor depicting his sister Elisa with the same attributes in 1809. Gerard Hubert, in his work "La Sculpture dan L'Italie Napoleonienne" (1964) speculates that Canova, very far advanced with the Elisa project, substituted the face of Marie-Louise with that of Elise. He was able to do this by using the terracotta and plaster sketches which he made at Fontainbleau. Today the marble version of "Marie-Louise en Concorde" is in the Pinacotheque of Parma and the plaster and terracotta sketches are in the Canova Museum in Passagno.

    Please note: This lot is in a professional art storage facility in New York City. It can be viewed by appointment through our New York office. Buyer will be responsible for pick-up at this facility.


    Condition Report*: Generally fine and well presented
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2013
    23rd-24th Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,580

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