The huge neoclassic temple of Possagno dominates the village of Canova and its surroundings, as a Pantheon of ancient Rome.
It is the greatest work that Canova has designed during his intense artistic life and is dedicated to his homeland, Possagno.
The temple was designed by Canova between 1804 and 1818 and the expenditure was supported almost entirely by the sculptor. Pretty much the whole community of Possagno participated in the work
But Canova died just before the works started, was the half-brother that complete the work.
It is a great neoclassical building placed on a hill at the foot of the Col Draga at 342 meters above the sea level, based on three broad staircase of different slopes on a vast cobbled of white and blacks stones, gathered on the Piave river and arranged in artistic geometric shapes
In the temple we can distinguish three architectural elements, inserted into one another, as if they were harmony parts: the colonnade, reminiscent of the Parthenon in Athens; the central body similar to the Roman Pantheon and the apse of the main altar
They symbolically represent the three stages of history: the Greek civilization, the Roman culture and Christian greatness. Inside the temple there is also the sculptor’s tomb
Canova, one of the leading exponents of Italian neo-classicism, is born in Possagno by a stone cutter. Soon he became the highest-paid sculptor of his time. Noblemen, popes and rich from all over Europe made the queue to get one of his great demanded sculptures. Napoleon also did commissioned his portrait.
Canova specialized in serial production: he took the exact measurements of its sculpture , modeled the individual plaster parts and made them replicable.
His sculptures are still today scattered across museums, palaces and private collections around the world.
In Possagno we are fortunate to be able to admire all its plaster models stored in the Gipsoteca, in his birthplace and in the Canova museum, one step away from this wonderful work.