This article looks at the persistence of classicizing art in postmodern imagery. Specifically, I posit the art of Antonio Canova as a precursor to contemporary fashion advertising, arguing against the notion that his oeuvre is wholly irrelevant to contemporary culture. I focus on a selection of paintings by Canova, works that, having received scant attention from scholars, are obscure in relation to the artist’s corpus of sculpture. At first glance, these paintings are little more than odd pastiches of 16 th century old master works, only with figures marked by a highly refined and conspicuously modern appropriation of ideal beauty. Rather than marginal curiosities or footnotes to his figures in marble, these paintings will be discussed for their distinctive treatment of the female form. I frame the artist as a transitional figure, one whose overturning of moralizing deployments of ideal beauty initiated a new corporeal type that endures in the figure of the fashion model. Returning Canova to the central position he once occupied in the nineteenth century, I incorporate the work of Giorgio Agamben, John Berger and Frederic Jameson. Like Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas, my argument is largely founded on the eloquence of the images themselves.