Apollo Crowning Himself

Object Details


Apollo Crowning Himself


Antonio Canova (Italian, 1757 - 1822)




Italy (Place created)


1781 - 1782




84.7 cm (33 3/8 in.)

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As Ovid told the story in his Metamorphoses, when the beautiful nymph Daphne finally escaped the pursuing Apollo by turning into a laurel tree, the Roman god of music and poetry pledged his unrequited love: Although you cannot be my wife, you shall at least, be my tree; I shall always wear you on my hair, on my quiver, O Laurel. In this marble, half-life-size statue inspired by this episode of the Metamorphoses, Apollo crowns himself with a laurel wreath. Nude except for sandals, his lyre hangs on the tree trunk that supports a piece of rumpled drapery. He stands in contrapposto, a balanced stance characterized by the opposition of straight and bent limbs, in a moment of reflection after the dramatic chase.

Apollo's nudity, his broad, muscular chest, and his relaxed, balanced pose all recall famous antique representations of the god. But while sculptor Antonio Canova clearly emulated several antiques, his Apollo is not a copy of an already existing statue. The commission for the marble was the result of a competition organized by Don Abbondio Rezzonico, nephew of the Venetian Pope Clement XIII. It is Canova's first fully classicizing work, carved in the Neoclassical style for which he soon became famous.

1782 - 1810

Don Abbondio Rezzonico, Italian, 1742 - 1810 (Rome, Italy), bequeathed to Filippo Bernardo Orsini

1810 - before 1816

Prince Filippo Bernardo Orsini of Solofra, Italian, 1742 - 1824 (Rome, Italy)

by 1816 - after 1824

Baron Martial Noël Pierre Daru, French, 1774 - 1827, who took the sculpture to France some time before 1824

19th century

Duke of Treviso, Italian

before 1951

Chassinat-Grigot, French (Paris, France) [sold, Galerie Charpentier, Paris, 17 April 1951, lot 73, to Fabius Frères]

1951 - 1957

Fabius Frères Gallery, French, 1882 - 2011 (Paris, France), sold to George Encil

1957 - after 1990

George Encil (Freeport, Bahamas) [Sotheby's, London, 13 December 1990, lot 94, unsold]

after 1990 - 1995

Rainer Zietz Ltd. (London, United Kingdom), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum

Rome on the Grand Tour (January 8 to August 11, 2002)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), January 8 to August 11, 2002
Canova e la Venere Vincitrice (October 16, 2007 to February 10, 2008)
  • Museo e Galleria Borghese, (Rome), October 16, 2007 to February 10, 2008
L'Antiquité rêvée: innovations et résistances au XVIIIe siècle (December 2, 2010 to May 30, 2011)
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, March 20 to May 30, 2011
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