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

It demonstrates Canova's own opinion of his work, that each version superseded earlier ones in attaining an ideal of perfection.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

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