January 26, 2019 09:00 AM EST Asheville, North Carolina


Italian School

(19th century)

The Apotheosis of George Washington, an equestrian statue of George Washington atop an Italianate mountain, signed indistinctly lower right "A. .../Napoli, 18..", oil on canvas, 27-5/8 x 26-3/4 in.; gilt wood ripple molding frame, 35-1/4 x 34-1/4 in.


This unusual and perhaps rare painting strikes an unusual contrast between an Italianate landscape with a central natural pedestal formed by an imposing rocky "mountain" and a statue of the revered George Washington on his horse. It is tempting to think that the background is an interpretation of Mount Vernon to the left situated on the Hudson River. As unusual as it may seem,  there were strong artistic and cultural ties between Italy and the United States in the early 19th century. This is evidenced by Canova's depiction of George Washington as a Roman general commissioned by The General Assembly of North Carolina in 1816. Focus was given to this connection this year by The Frick Collection who sponsored an exbibition [Canova’s George Washington] that was held May 23 through September 23. In an article they state, "In 1816, the General Assembly of North Carolina commissioned a full-length statue of George Washington to stand in the rotunda of the State Capitol, in Raleigh. Thomas Jefferson, believing that no American sculptor was up to the task, recommended Antonio Canova (1757– 1822), then one of Europe’s most celebrated artists. It was unveiled to great acclaim in 1821. Tragically, a decade later, a fire swept through the State Capitol, reducing the statue to a few charred fragments."


Provenance:Private New England Collection


lined and retstretched on new stretcher laminated with face of presumed original stretcher, crackle; frame resurfaced, with wear

Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium

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