Antonio Canova The Peace of Kiev. Art wins the war

The Peace of Antonio Canova

“Little Angel” by Beatrice Brandini

The city of Florence welcomes La Pace by Antonio Canova, the famous plaster version of the marble kept inside the Khanenko National Museum in Kiev and currently hidden to protect it from the bombing of the war between Russia and Ukraine.


Press conference in the Sala d’Arme of Palazzo Vecchio

A beautiful initiative that starts tomorrow 11 May until 18 September 2022, in the heart of Palazzo Vecchio, in the Sala Leone X, curated by Vittorio Sgarbi, in collaboration with the Museo del Novecento in Florence and the Antonio Canova Gypsotheca Museum in Possagno (his hometown), organized by MUS.E with Contemplazioni.

The arrival at Palazzo Vecchio of the statue of the Peace by Antonio Canova

Another pearl, after the exhibition of the large canvas by Pellizza da Volpedo, the Fourth Estate, inaugurated on May 1st.

The work is located inside the sala of Leone X, a riot of frescoes dedicated to the rise to power of Lorenzo the Magnificent’s son, Giovanni de ‘Medici, who became pope with the name of Leone X.


Press Conference, Dario Nardella, Vittorio Sgarbi and Sergio Risaliti

The work, in addition to its undeniable beauty, also has a symbolic value. Commissioned by the Russian politician and diplomat Nikolaj Petrovič Rumyancev, conceived by Canova in 1812, it paid homage to the Rumyancev family, proponents of some important peace treaties between Russia and other countries.

Dario Nardella, Vittorio Sgarbi and Sergio Risaliti in the Leone X room

From 1808 to 1814 Nikolaj Petrovič Rumjancev was minister of foreign affairs and maintained friendly relations with Napoleon Bonaparte. But he threatens Russia and when he invades it, the Russian politician suffers a stroke. Therefore the statue in honor of peace, born from a considerable admiration for Napoleon (Canova was his reference sculptor), turns out to be a “failure”. And in recent weeks, with Putin’s attack on Ukraine, we cannot help but think of this unfortunate commission as a very current episode.

Sergio Risaliti and Vittorio Sgarbi with the statue of Antonio Canova, The Peace alongside

After a few locations, in 1861 the Communist Party Secretary, Krusciov of Ukrainian origins, decided to transfer the statue from St. Petersburg to the Khanenko National Museum in Kiev. Today hidden and protected, we hope forever, from bombing and destruction at the hands of the Russian.

Glimpse of the statue The Peace by Antonio Canova

Sergio Risaliti and Vittorio Sgarbi in the Sala Leone X with The Peace of Kiev by Antonio Canova

The iconography of Peace recalls Nemesis, the Greek goddess of the “distribution of justice”. The snake recalls the Roman medals, the commemorative inscriptions in Latin are not accidental, as it was considered the most suitable language as it is open, symbol of the union between European nations, reinforcing the concept of peace of the work itself.


Antonio Canova. The Peace. Art wins over war. Palazzo Vecchio, Sala Leone X. Ph. Credits Alessandra Cinquemani

Canova writes: “The statue of Peace will be made: war come; it will not be able to prevent it. But I fear that there will be no statue of general peace for now. So it could be done, I would raise it at my expense! “

“Art is a better world. And the world must be inspired by what art shows us “. Vittorio Sgarbi A giant of talent and culture, of personality and knowledge. His engaging speech is something I will remember for a long time. In addition to the fact that for him (and for me too) the most beautiful city in the world for the art that he admires and breathes is Florence.


Santa Croce, one of the many jewels of Florence

Good life to everyone!



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