Museum in Canova's Hometown Preserves Sculptor's Original Casts
Next to the house in Possagno where Antonio Canova was born, a museum preserves the plaster first drafts of his famous marble sculptures.
The small village of Possagno, which sits at the foot of the Grappa massif in Veneto,
enjoys international fame for having been the birthplace of the great neoclassical
sculptor Antonio Canova, creator of seminal sculptures in the history of art such as
Cupid and Psyche (1793), Tomb of Duchess Maria Christina of Austria (1798-1805)
and Hercules and Lichas (1815). Thanks to this close connection with the sculptor, the
village to this day maintains an art collection of fundamental importance that makes it
a cultural reference point for the entire surrounding territory.
This collection is preserved in the Gypsotheca, from the Greek gypsos (gypsum or
plaster) and tèca (collection) and includes all the original plaster models created by
Canova himself in his Roman atelier before going on to replicate them in marble. In
addition to the life-size plaster casts, this extraordinary collection includes preliminary
rough drafts in terracotta and clay. The collection is housed in the Basilica Francesco
Lazzari and in the well-known pavilion designed by Carlo Scarpa (1952) and enables
the visitor not only to admire a series of absolute masterpieces, but also to understand
the rich and complex itinerary of Canova's invention and his inspirations.
In addition to the Gypsotheca, the visitor can also visit the house where Canova was
born in 1757, where it is still possible to see his original furniture, work tools and
formal clothes, as well as the books in which he found inspiration. The museum
complex, which is one-of-a-kind, thus retraces the entire creative process of one of the
most influential artists in the history of art and enables visitors to fully immerse
themselves in this process through the guided tours, educational workshops and night
visits that are available.