Portrait of an unidentified man thumbnail 1
Portrait of an unidentified man thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Sculpture, Room 22, The Dorothy and Michael Hintze Galleries

Portrait of an unidentified man

Relief
1786 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The identity of the sitter remains unknown, but the fact that it is signed by Canova suggests it was a work of some note. It may have been a portrait of a friend of the sculptor, and was perhaps intended to form part of a larger sepulchral monument. On acquisition, it was thought this relief may have depicted Julius Caesar. However, later study of the relief ruled out this suggestion, as the portrait is not related to any known depictions of the Emperor.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Brief Description
Relief, marble, Portrait of an unidentified man, by Antonio Canova, Italian, 1786
Physical Description
Relief in mable of the head of a unknown man. A loose drapery round the shoulders.
Dimensions
  • Height: 52.5cm
  • Width: 42cm
Marks and Inscriptions
"CANOVA FECIT 1786"
Gallery Label
This is signed by Canova, but the identity of the sitter remains unknown. He may have been a friend of the sculptor. The work was perhaps intended to form part of a funerary monument.
Subject depicted
Summary
The identity of the sitter remains unknown, but the fact that it is signed by Canova suggests it was a work of some note. It may have been a portrait of a friend of the sculptor, and was perhaps intended to form part of a larger sepulchral monument. On acquisition, it was thought this relief may have depicted Julius Caesar. However, later study of the relief ruled out this suggestion, as the portrait is not related to any known depictions of the Emperor.
Bibliographic References
  • Maclagan, Eric and Longhurst, Margaret H. Catalogue of Italian Sculpture. London, 1932. p. 167.
  • Pope-Hennessy, John. Catalogue of Italian Sculpture in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: HMSO, 1964. cat. no. 703. fig. no. 697.
  • Hughes, P. Catalogue of Furniture. The Wallace Collection. I. London, 1996. Introduction, fig. 4.
  • Cook, R., Martin, G. Preliminary investigation into discolourations occuring in white marble. Recent advances in the conservation and analysis of artifacts: University of London Institute of Archarology Jubilee conservation conference. July 1987. pp. 359-364.
  • Pavanello, G. L'opera completa del Canova. Milan, 1976. p. 95. cat. 45. ill. on p. 94.
  • Cf. Watson, F. J. B. Lord Hertford and the Musée Retrospectif of 1865. Apollo. 81. 1965. p. 437.
Collection
Accession Number
A.34-1928

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record createdAugust 14, 2006
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