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      Antonio Canova and the Whatever Body

      Open Library of Humanities

      Open Library of Humanities

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          Abstract

          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.

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          Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism

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            Postmodernism, or the cultural logic of late capitalism

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              The Fashion System

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                2056-6700
                Open Library of Humanities
                Open Library of Humanities
                2056-6700
                21 February 2017
                : 3
                : 1
                Affiliations
                Institute of Advanced Studies, University College London, UK
                Article
                10.16995/olh.67
                Copyright: © 2017 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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                Self URI (journal-page): https://olh.openlibhums.org/
                Categories
                Mnemosyne

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