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See a sculptor recreate “Venus” from clay to marble

Master sculptor Fred X. Brownstein recreates Antonio Canova’s sculpture “Venus” using Canova’s unique 200-year-old techniques over the course of 6 months.

How does Brownstein go from a foot-high clay sketch to a near-identical marble copy of one of Antonio Canova’s most famous sculptures? Watch this behind-the-scenes time lapse using Canova’s marble sculpting process to find out!

Brownstein uses his hands and small, wooden tools to create a rough clay sketch model called a bozzetti. He then moves on to a full-scale modelli that is cast in plaster, creating a hollow mold. This mold, in turn, serves as the basis for a refined plaster model that’s copied into a marble version where Fred makes the final touches.

Where Canova had a workshop with assistants, Fred did all of the sculpting himself!

See Canova’s clay, plaster, and marble sculptures, including "Venus", in the Canova: Sketching in Clay exhibition open June 11 – October 9, 2023 at the National Gallery of Art:

Find Canova’s original “Venus” sculpture in the National Gallery of Art’s collection:

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00:00 Clay
01:25 Plaster
03:17 Marble


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