Valeria Rotili

Antonio Canova refusé. The difficult entry into the Accademia di San Luca

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In the documents kept in the Historical Archive of the Accademia di San Luca, Antonio Canova is never mentioned until his official admission as a member of merit in 1800. He arrived in Rome in 1779. One of the justifications for this omission can be found in some debates which took place between the Venetian sculptor and some members of the Accademia di San Luca in occasion of the inauguration of the Ganganelli monument in 1787. One of the most ardent opponents was Andrea Bergondi, a less know artist today, who influenced the life of the Academy for many years. Bergondi was opposed in his ascent by some artists who made a formal civil case against the Academy and Bergondi, which was a sign of the search for innovation and for solutions to the profound resistance that survived in the Academic College. The reality of the Accademia di San Luca in the second half of the 1700s is characterized by a rigid closure that makes the institution impermeable to every artistic innovation and contemporary theoretical debate which was concentrated instead in the private academies held by the artists, which were founded as alternative places and were effective in contrast to the inadequacy of the Historical Academy.

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