Venus Rising

Venus Rising

Exhibition Details

Venus rising celebrates the return of Antonio Canova's Venus to the Gallery, after its recent magnificent restoration, sponsored and carried out by Trethewey Granite and Marble Ltd. The company has ascertained that it is made of the same high quality Carrara marble as Michelangelo's Pietà in St Peters, Rome. The carving is so fine in parts that light passes through the folds on Venus's drapery, an aspect of modelling of which Canova was considered a virtuoso.

Canova moved permanently to Rome from his native Venice in 1780. He had trained as a stonemason, but once in Rome his neo-classical commissions were so numerous that he employed a large studio of assistants. He would form the clay model from which a plaster cast was made, which Canova considered to be the original work of art. His assistants then copied the form accurately in marble with the aid of a pointing compass. He then did the finishing, followed by a 'polisher' who gave the marble a 'diaphanous luminosity'.

Canova's Italian Venus (Venus italica), the model for Auckland's figure, was carved as a replacement for the Medici Venus, which had been taken by Napoleon for the Louvre. Writers have described the figure as the artist's most subtle and complex creation. How many marble replicas were made is unknown, nor is their place of creation clear. Certainly copies of Canova's idealised portrait sculpture of Letizia Ramolino Bonaparte  were carved directly at Carrara, where the marble industry was being revived by Napoleon's sister, Elisa. These were then shipped throughout Europe. However, only if Canova himself had been involved in the final polishing was the replica considered authentic.

Restored to her former beauty, Venus will eventually be displayed on a new plinth cut from rosso levanto marble. She is accompanied by a number of classical prints and sculptures from the Gallery's collections.

Date
Curated by
Mary Kisler
Location
Main Gallery
Cost
Free entry

Related Artworks

View Artwork

On display

Venus italica
Venus italica

Antonio Canova

On display

Production date
circa 1812
Medium
marble
Size (h x w)
1752 x 534 x 534 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Moss Davis, 1931
Accession no
1931/6
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Not on display

Diana and Callisto
Diana and Callisto

Cornelius Cort Tiziano Vecellio (known as Titian)

Production date
1566
Medium
engraving
Size (h x w)
438 x 368 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1957
Accession no
1957/31/5
View Artwork

Not on display

Venus Embracing Adonis
Venus Embracing Adonis

Giorgio Ghisi Teodoro Ghisi

Production date
16th century
Medium
engraving
Size (h x w)
316 x 223 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1981
Accession no
1981/50/55
View Artwork

Not on display

Apollon Melpomene, Calliope, Clio
Apollon Melpomene, Calliope, Clio

Edmé Jeaurat Nicholas Vleughels

Production date
1719
Medium
line engraving
Size (h x w)
232 x 169 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the relatives of Mr T V Gulliver, 1939
Accession no
1939/4/55
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Not on display

Sala all' uso degli antichi Romani con Colonne, e nicchie ornate di Statue (Colonnaded hall according to the custom of the ancient Romans nd niches adorned with statues)
Sala all' uso degli antichi Romani con Colonne, e nicchie ornate di Statue (Colo...

Giovanni Battista Piranesi

Production date
circa 1743
Medium
etching
Size (h x w)
263 x 356 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, bequest of Dr Walter Auburn, 1982
Accession no
M1982/1/4/6
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Not on display

Farnese Hercules
Farnese Hercules

Unknown artist

Production date
circa 1830
Medium
bronze
Size (h x w)
736 x 330 x 260 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, bequest of James Tannock Mackelvie, 1885
Accession no
M1885/1/174
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Not on display

Statue from the Vatican
Statue from the Vatican

Francesco Piranesi Tommaso Piroli

Production date
1781
Medium
engraving
Size (h x w)
489 x 336 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1955
Accession no
1955/36/5
View Artwork

Not on display

Hercules Killing the Hydra of Lerna
Hercules Killing the Hydra of Lerna

Giovanni Caraglio Rosso Fiorentino

Production date
circa 1524
Medium
engraving
Size (h x w)
216 x 180 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Ann Andrews and Robert Newton, 1993
Accession no
1992/36
View Artwork

Not on display

Venus and Adonis
Venus and Adonis

Jan Collaert

Production date
late 16th century-early 17th century
Medium
engraving
Size (h x w)
258 x 175 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Mr G M Mitford, 1883
Accession no
1883/1/54/2
View Artwork

Not on display

Venus and Cupid
Venus and Cupid

Lucas van Leyden

Production date
1528
Medium
engraving
Size (h x w)
160 x 115 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1981
Accession no
1981/50/91
View Artwork

Not on display

Mercurio (Statue from Villa Montalto)
Mercurio (Statue from Villa Montalto)

Luigi Cunego

Production date
1787
Medium
etching
Size (h x w)
200 x 135 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1955
Accession no
1955/36/24
View Artwork

Not on display

Ercole Rustico
Ercole Rustico

Luigi Cunego

Production date
1787
Medium
etching
Size (h x w)
197 x 134 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1955
Accession no
1955/36/25
View Artwork

Not on display

Hercules resting
Hercules resting

Unknown artist

Production date
Unknown
Medium
bronze
Size (h x w)
580 x 360 x 190 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, bequest of James Tannock Mackelvie, 1885
Accession no
M1885/1/192
View Artwork

Not on display

Venus and Cupid
Venus and Cupid

Nicolò Boldrini Tiziano Vecellio (known as Titian)

Production date
1566
Medium
woodcut
Size (h x w)
316 x 235 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1957
Accession no
1957/31/2
View Artwork

Not on display

Statue of Youth
Statue of Youth

Unknown artist

Production date
18th century
Medium
etching
Size (h x w)
278 x 174 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1955
Accession no
1955/36/36
View Artwork

Not on display

Juno
Juno

Willem van Swanenburgh Michiel van Mierevelt

Production date
1609
Medium
engraving
Size (h x w)
248 x 138 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1981
Accession no
1981/50/125/1
View Artwork

Not on display

Venus
Venus

Willem van Swanenburgh Michiel van Mierevelt

Production date
circa 1609
Medium
engraving
Size (h x w)
250 x 142 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1981
Accession no
1981/50/125/2
View Artwork

Not on display

Antique marble statue of Flora at the Palais du Tuilleries
Antique marble statue of Flora at the Palais du Tuilleries

Claude Mellan

Production date
1640
Medium
engraving
Size (h x w)
393 x 279 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1955
Accession no
1955/36/57
View Artwork

Not on display

Florae Simulacrum in marmore pario sculptum
Florae Simulacrum in marmore pario sculptum

Rocco Pozzi Giuseppe Pozzi

Production date
1744
Medium
etching and engraving
Size (h x w)
479 x 273 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1955
Accession no
1955/36/58
View Artwork

Not on display

East frieze  - Women with jugs and bowls led by woman with incense burner
East frieze - Women with jugs and bowls led by woman with incense burner

John Henning

Production date
Unknown
Medium
plaster
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
MU/426/13
View Artwork

Not on display

East frieze - Women with jugs, weavers, marshall, 5 eponymous heroes
East frieze - Women with jugs, weavers, marshall, 5 eponymous heroes

John Henning

Production date
Unknown
Medium
plaster
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
MU/426/17
View Artwork

Not on display

East frieze - Marshal and women with jugs and bowls
East frieze - Marshal and women with jugs and bowls

John Henning

Production date
Unknown
Medium
plaster
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
MU/426/18
View Artwork

Not on display

East frieze  - Five eponymous heroes, marshals and maidens
East frieze - Five eponymous heroes, marshals and maidens

John Henning

Production date
Unknown
Medium
plaster
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Accession no
MU/426/14