Canova’s George Washington

GBP £35.00



ISBN: 978-1-911282-17-4

188 Pages

Size: 280 x 248 mm (9 ¾ x 11 in)

86 colour

In association with The Frick Collection, New York

June 2018


Examines a little-known masterpiece by the celebrated Italian sculptor Antonio Canova (1757-1822): the statue of George Washington for the North Carolina State House.

“Thomas Jefferson Had an Italian Artist Make These Odd George Washington Sculptures”
David D’Arcy, Observer

“The first president was memorialised not merely as a statesman, but as an ancient and a god”
Prospero, The Economist

“A George Washington Monument, Rediscovered in Fragile Plaster”
Jason Farago, The New York Times

Read More

This fascinating book tells the story of a masterpiece by the Italian sculptor Antonio Canova (1757–1822)—the statue of George Washington for the North Carolina State House, delivered in 1821 and destroyed by fire ten years later. It accompanies an exhibition at The Frick Collection that brings together, for the first time, Canova’s full-sized preparatory plaster model, sketches, engravings, drawings, and a selection of letters about the commission, some of them to or from Thomas Jefferson.

This is a major addition to the current body of knowledge on the work of Antonio Canova, as well as on the classical revivalist sculpture of the early nineteenth century on both sides of the Atlantic. Included are essays by leading experts Guido Beltramini, Mario Guderzo, and Xavier F. Salomon.

Author biographies

Xavier F. Salomon is the Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator at The Frick Collection.

Guido Beltramini is Director of the Palladio Museum in Vicenza, Italy.

Mario Guderzo is Director of the Gypsotheca e Museo Antonio Canova in Possagno, Italy.

Table of Contents

  1. Director’s Foreword
  2. Preface and Acknowledgments
  3. “The Boast and Pride of North America” Antonio Canova’s George Washingtonby Xavier F. Salomon
  4. The Classical Conception of Antonio Canova by Mario Guderzo
  5. Jefferson, Italy, and Palladio  by Guido Beltramini
  6. Appendix
  7. Bibliography
  8. Index
  9. Photography Credits