The Veiled Nun, in the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC, is one of Croff’s most celebrated works and also one of the most popular objects in the prestigious collection. Carved in marble, The Veiled Nun is a fine example of a detailed rendering of texture and form, as the thin material gently reveals the contours of the nun’s face.
The present marble follows the style of the great sculptures of the early 19th century carved by the influential Neoclassical Venetian sculptor, Antonio Canova. The composition places it among a Classical tradition of representing goddesses and mythical female nudes - often modestly attempting to cover themselves. Perhaps the most famous Classical Greek sculpture is the Venus of Cnidus, a very early example of a female nude, in which Venus appears to have been surprised while bathing, and reaches for her robe too late to cover her figure from the viewer’s gaze. The original Venus of Cnidus carved by Praxiteles has not survived, but it was widely copied in the ancient world. The present lovely and charming marble is a departure from Neoclassicism and a move towards Romantic Italian Sculpture.
A. Panzetta, Nuovo dizionario degli scultori italiani dell’ottocento e del primo novecento A-L, Turin, 2003, vol. 1, p. 233
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