You are along the route: THE FASCINATION OF THE CLASSICS. GOETHE AND CANOVA
All of the places recommended on this itinerary are open from Tuesday to Saturday. The Vatican Museums are closed on Sundays, and the National Gallery of Modern Art, Galleria Borghese and House of Goethe are all closed on Mondays.
The Galleria Borghese can only be visited if booked in advance, but the masterpieces by Canova displayed there are of such importance that we have included it in the main itinerary, advising that you plan your visit there in advance.
In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the refusal of pompous, spectacular and all-eloquent Baroque aesthetics led to the need for a “noble simplicity” and “quiet grandeur”. This was achieved by looking at the world of the Ancient Greeks and Romans, deemed unbeatable: the only possibility was to emulate it. Neoclassicism was thus born in Europe, with Rome as the unchallenged capital, as it was home to an invaluable archaeological heritage.
Two great characters lived in the city during this time. Characterised by different personalities, but united in total admiration of classical culture, they were the German author, poet and dramatist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and the Italian sculptor and painter Antonio Canova. The former wrote his memoirs in “Journey to Italy”, a passionate diary chronicling two years of pure joy, between 1786 and 1788. In Rome, especially, Goethe frequented the most renowned artists and intellectuals and voraciously took in its classical culture, visiting the city and its surrounds and exalting them in his written work.
Antonio Canova came to Rome from the Veneto in 1779. He was an internationally renowned sculptor and his work was commissioned by the highest authorities. An exponent of pure neoclassicism, he was famous for his white marble works, which were smooth and bright, sober and graceful.
Canova and Goethe visited the streets of Rome at much the same time, taking in the atmosphere of the great capital of art and focal point of new trends, both seduced by the attraction of classicism. Modern day and ancient Rome seen through their places and creations thus came to mist together and merge; Canova’s work recall art from the past in a new bright language, while Goethe’s writings remove the monuments from their secular forgetfulness and bring them to life with the irresistible force of a sincere lover of such things.