Skip to Content

Canova: Sketching in Clay


National Gallery of Art, Washington, and the Art Institute of Chicago, 2023

Purchase from the Art Institute Museum Shop.

Available to booksellers from Yale University Press.

The most celebrated sculptor of the neoclassical age, Antonio Canova (1757–1822) established himself as the preeminent artist of his time with his funerary monuments and meticulously carved marbles on classical themes. Although his idealized and sensual sculptures are widely known, this is the first book devoted entirely to the brilliantly expressive clay models that he made in preparation for his marble sculptures. Only sixty-five of his terracotta models survive today. Extraordinarily modern in their boldness, the models retain the touch of the artist’s hand and yield a revelatory glimpse into Canova’s imaginative and technical process.
The authors, with expertise in art history and conservation, examine Canova’s techniques for making terracotta models, including how he used clay to develop full-scale models that his assistants copied in marble, and his practice of gifting his models to friends.

Edited by Emerson Bowyer and C. D. Dickerson

With contributions by Elyse Nelson and Anthony Sigel

280 pages, 8 1/2 × 10 1/2 in.
190 color illus.

Hardcover $65 ($58.50 members)
ISBN: 978-0-300-269758


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions