Ideal Head by Antonio Canova

The bust is of the type known as Calliope, the Muse of Epic Poetry.


53 cm
Art Fund grant:
£50,000 ( Total: £746,000; Export stopped)
Acquired in:
Rainer Zietz

It demonstrates Canova's own opinion of his work, that each version superseded earlier ones in attaining an ideal of perfection. It bears out the importance he attached to creating the integrity of a work in the round, for the work is as satisfying from the back as it is in profile. The work has one of the finest and most fascinating provenances of any Canova in the country.


Presented by the artist to William Richard Hamilton, the British Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, as a gift of gratitude for ensuring the restitution of works of art removed from Rome by Napolean; then by descent; Sotheby's 1995; Rainer

Venue details

Ashmolean Museum Beaumont Street, OXFORD Oxfordshire OX1 2PH 01865 278000

Entry details

Permanent collections are free to all
50% off exhibitions with National Art Pass

Tue – Sun, Bank Holiday Mon, 10am – 5pm

Closed 24 – 26 Dec