Pietro Canonica was born in Moncalieri in 1869. He attended the Accademia Albertina in Turin, in an Italy which had only recently been united into one country and was labouriously engaged in the difficult work of constructing an italian identity. It was in this atmosphere, interwoven with moral and civil obligation, that Pietro Canonica’s aesthetic sense was formed, and he became an attentive and enthusiastic guardian of the italian artistic tradition.
The Fortezzuola is known in the seventeenth century documentation as the “Hen House” and it is where ostriches, peacocks and ducks were reared for the shooting parties of the Borghese family. Its current name comes from its characteristic palisaded medieval style turret, which was created at the end of the Eighteenth century, and is attributed to Antonio Asprucci.
The Museo Pietro Canonica, hidden in the greenery of the Villa Borghese, is an important example of the museological model of museums based on artist’s houses, and in its integrity is one of very few examples in Italy.
The museum collection consists primarily of works by Pietro Canonica: marbles, bronzes and original models, as well as a large number of sketches, studies and replicas which
The collection in this room consists mainly of portraits and commemorative works for the Russian royal family, made prior to the revolution, and funerary monuments commissioned by important Italian families.
Canonica consolidated his reputation as a portrait artist and creator of commemorative works at the Tsar’s court, creating numerous portraits of the imperial family and key members of the Russian nobility, for Tsar Nicholas II and the Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna.
The Studio has been maintained as it was when the artist was working here. The room is part of the antique building which once belonged to the Borghese family.
The ceiling of the room, which is a unique original and was not restored by the sculptor, is made of wooden panels and was painted around the years 1833-39, when the villa had become the property of Francesco Aldobrandini Borghese.