Antonio Canova (Italian, 1757-1822)
marble, Overall - h:177.50 w:78.10 d:61.00 cm (h:69 7/8 w:30 11/16 d:24 inches). Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1968.212
In Greek mythology, Terpsichore was one of the nine Muses, or goddesses of creative inspiration. The lyre, Greek inscription on the short column, and the caduceus (entwined snakes) on the side, identify the figure as Terpsichore Lyran, muse of lyric poetry. The Muses are also the subject of a series of large paintings by Charles Meynier in the adjoining gallery. This sculpture began with a commission from Napoleon's brother, Lucien, for an idealized portrait of his wife, Alexandrine. Canova made this version for a British aristocrat and exhibited it in 1817 at the Royal Academy in London to great acclaim.