Amidst the vast landscape of art and sculpture emerges a set of Lions inspired by the unparalleled mastery of Antonio Canova, the famed Neoclassical sculptor. Originally, these lions were sculpted by Canova himself for the tomb of Pope Clement XIII in St. Peter’s Basilica. The larger scale sculptures serve as a profound testament to Canova’s craftsmanship, with each lion symbolizing the distinct virtues of the Pope. The sleeping lion stands as an emblem of the Pope’s moderation, a calm presence in the face of adversities, while the vigilant lion, ever watchful, embodies his unyielding commitment to the Papacy.

These versions, crisply cast with meticulous precision, bear an elegance and grace reminiscent of their monumental counterparts. The passage of time and the hands that have tended to them have bestowed upon these sculptures a rich and alluring patina, a blend of aged hues and worn textures. This patination not only enhances the depth and intricacy of each lion but also adds a tangible touch of history to them.

Their poised stance and exquisitely detailed manes show a harmonious blend of strength and serenity. Their eyes, though cast in metal, seem to exude a lifelike quality, gazing into the distance with regal authority. Every curve, muscle, and feature has been rendered with an attention to detail that resonates with Canova’s original vision.

While their majestic forms are rooted in classical design, the rich patination provides a contrasting age and character. It’s this unique combination of crisp casting and attractive patination that sets these Canova Lions apart, making them not just sculptures, but timeless pieces of art that intertwine tales of eras gone by with profound symbolism.

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Pair of Cast Iron Versions of the Canova Lions

Stock Number: 51040

A pair of cast iron versions of Canova’s sleeping and vigilent lions for the tomb of Pope Clement XIII.

To fashion these two sculptures in cast iron is a remarkable achievement. The detail of the casting and their fine bronze patina speak of an aspiration to show that this material of bridges and pipes can be employed in an exquisite way. A triumph of art over materials.
  • Height: 20 cm (8 inches)
  • Width: 33 cm (13 inches)
  • Depth: 13 cm (5 inches)

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Approximate Dimensions

  • Height: 20 cm (8 inches)
  • Width: 33 cm (13 inches)
  • Depth: 13 cm (5 inches)


Period & Circa Date:





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