The amazing exhibition of Canova and Thorvaldsen recently ended in Milan at Le Gallerie d’Italia compared two prominent exponents of sculpture. Their works of art are very popular, immortal, reclaimed, reproduced and reinterpreted through the centuries and all around the world. Two artists with their pieces of art put us in front of the bid question on the beauty and the power of sculpture. In their sculptures, Canova and Thorvaldsen tried to highlight human passions all-round, sculpting them in the figures of classical mythology. In turn, their sculptures became in the collective imaginary symbols of human passions and icons that remind of feelings and emotions. Love, sweetness, sensuality, animal strength, elegance, grace, composed pain and endless shades of the human soul.
The sculpture has been always seeking for beauty and human soul
Sculpture with its modelling of the most various materials, marble, bronze, terracotta, wax, alabaster, silver or strong stone challenges nature and represents the immaterial. The sculptors, from primitives to contemporaneous artists, express all-round and with as much expressive strength as possible the joys and the agonies tending to beauty. May it be a Greek sculpture which expresses grace or a ceramic figure of Lucio Fontana that expresses Christ’s passion on the cross, it is always a modelled material and shaped to communicate man to man trying to pursue the concept of beauty.
How can we value a sculpture?
Simply, we could say from a signature. Often, this helps us because the more the artist is popular the higher the value will be. However, in antique sculpture research is needed to be able to establish who the author of a sculpture is and not always the artist can be found. It is at this point that the sensitivity of the expert takes in, who evaluates the expressive power together with the execution. What do we look at in a sculpture? To demonstrate that a sculpture is the materialization of an emotion, the first thing that strikes us is what it communicates and how. A feeling expressed with the composition, with a creation filled with pathos. Then, only in a second moment, we analyse the details and examine the work if well-done.
Often, we find ourselves in front of sketches’ valuations which are the materialization of the first creative will of the artist, the draft of a will, the first sign of an idea that the sculptor leaves to the world. And in this we can find beauty: exactly in the sketch there is a first search of balance and aesthetic canons.
May they be completed works, meditated or rethought such as often happens in the works of big artists or may they be sketches, the sculptures imitate and compete with nature in the willing of expressing with beautiful shapes the invisible which is the soul.