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Venus of Medici. Italian Academic Drawing. XIX century

Venus of Medici. Italian Academic Drawing. XIX century

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Venus of Medici. Italian Academic Drawing.
XIX century

Charcoal on paper.

72cm x 55 cm

Good condition with some defects on margins. 
The Medici Venus statue was discovered during excavations in 1575 in Rome, near the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. The original work that inspired the Medici Venus is attributed to the famous Greek sculptor Praxiteles, active in the 4th century BC.

The Medici Venus, a marble statue of the goddess Venus, was moved to Rome and placed in the Villa Medici when it became a Medici residence. Purchased by Cardinal Ferdinando de' Medici in 1576, the villa became a key center for collecting and displaying ancient art.

Cosimo III de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1670 to 1723, played a crucial role in the statue's history. He worked to expand the Medici art collection and ordered the transfer of many artworks from the Villa Medici to Florence, enriching the Uffizi Gallery's holdings.

In 1677, the Medici Venus was relocated to the Uffizi Gallery, one of the world's most prestigious museums, created to house the Medici art collections. Cosimo III moved the statue from the Villa Medici's private rooms to the Uffizi's Tribune, an octagonal room designed by Bernardo Buontalenti in 1584 to display the collection's most prized works. The Medici Venus became a highlight of the Tribune due to its beauty and significance.

During the Napoleonic spoliations, the Medici Venus was among the artworks looted by Napoleon's forces. In 1800, the statue was taken to France and displayed at the Louvre Museum in Paris. Before this, there was an attempt to hide the statue in Palermo to protect it from Napoleon’s troops, but it ultimately failed. This looting was part of the widespread plunder of European art by Napoleon.

After Napoleon's fall, the sculptor Antonio Canova played a key role in negotiating the return of many stolen artworks, including the Medici Venus. Thanks to Canova's efforts, the statue was returned to the Uffizi Gallery in 1815, where it remains today.


This drawing represents one of the many examples of academic exercises based on the most important plaster statues.

Plaster casts from nineteenth-century academies often drew inspiration not only from classical antiquity but also from the works of great masters of the past, such as Michelangelo.

Students focused on the chiaroscuro effect and detailed representation of the face.



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