Antonio Canova's home-studio. Neoclassicism in Rome

Antonio Canova

In via delle Colonnette In the Campo Marzio district not far from Piazza Augusto Imperatore, the Ara Pacis museum, via di Ripetta and Via del Corso, there is one of the many hidden pearls that can only be discovered by calmly walking through the streets of Rome. In this small, not too busy street, we find ourselves admiring the 'studio house' where the great neoclassical sculptor Antonio Canova he created many of his masterpieces. Thinking that wonders such as "Cupid and Psyche", "the Three Graces", the statue dedicated to Paolina Borghese and the penitent Magdalene took shape here makes the house precious and exciting just to look at. In fact, it is currently an asset listed by the State for its historical-artistic importance despite being private.

A house that is a temple of Canova's art

In 1779 Canova – originally from Possagno, in the Treviso area – moved to Rome and after being hosted at Palazzo Venezia by the Ambassador of the Serenissima, in 1803 he chose a small building in Campo Marzio as a place to take refuge and think and create his works in complete calm. Here, together with various collaborators who helped him complete the many orders received, he created a artisan workshop which became a temple of art and antiquity. The place where Canova dedicated himself to creating and give shape to his genius and taste was indeed housed inside also various archaeological finds such as statues, architraves and sculptures which he had come into possession of and which are now found set in the external walls. Elements that embellish a simple building made of arched doors and windows.

Where to see Canova's works around Rome

In Rome there are so many monuments and buildings built in neoclassical style between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that we lose count. Canova's works present in the city can today be found collected in some places: at Borghese Gallery where they can be admired in all their splendor, among others "Cupid and Psyche" and "Paolina Borghese as Venus winner", at the National Gallery of Modern Art where the sculptural group “Hercules and Lichas” is located, at Basilica of Saint Peter, at the Basilica of the Holy Apostles where the tomb of Pope Clement XIV is located but also to Napoleonic museum where a bust dedicated to Pauline Bonaparte is preserved. Lovers of this exceptional artist can therefore organize a Roman tour to discover his beauties.

The study house today

Upon his death in 1882, Canova left his studio home to his friend and sculptor Antonio D'Este and his son Alessandro. Throughout the nineteenth century, a place so vibrant with art and culture was a destination for pilgrimages during grand tours in Europe, also indicated by Stendhal as an unmissable place in Rome just after the Colosseum. Today it is less known and after various changes between families over the years it has become the artist's home atelier Luigi Ontani that he is giving him new cultural life also redeveloping the internal spaces. Bright and spacious spaces, perfect for artistic expression. The building houses an architectural studio, a communications agency and an artists' atelier as well as being a center for visits and creative workshops. Going to admire it even just from the outside and breathing in the charm of other times is still an excellent excuse to a pleasant walk discovering the historic center of Rome, one of the most fascinating areas of the city, and, why not, take advantage of one refreshment break at 'Gusto.