The Thorvaldsens Museum Archives

Comment on 30.11.1804

I.e. Antonio Canova’s Monument to Vittorio Alfieri, which was executed in marble 1806-10 in the Basilica di Santa Croce, Firenze. There is an etching and an engraving of the monument in Thorvaldsen’s collection, cf. E1989 and E536.

The monument was commissioned from Canova after Alfieri’s death by his friend Countess Louise Albany, née Countess of Stolberg-Gedern (1753-1824) and the widow of the last Stuart, the English pretender Prince Charles Edward.
It must be the first sketch that Thorvaldsen here claims to have seen in 1804 – a relief representing Italia grieving at Alfieri’s bust, the genius of Death on the left and Cupid weeping on the right behind Italia.
However, Countess Albany was not satisfied with the sketch of the relief, so instead Canova executed, in 1806-10, a free-standing monument, which consisted of a large pedestal supporting a sarcophagus with a portrait medallion of Alfieri and a statue of the grieving Italia.

Last updated 13.07.2015