Born in 1757 in Possagno near Bassano, Antonio Canova was considered the greatest sculptural genius since Michelangelo. At the young age of 15, he was already working in his sculpture workshop for the Italian aristocracy. He was successful throughout his whole life until he died in Venice in 1822. Canova became the leading exponent of Italian classicism, admired throughout Europe.
The Getty Museum in Malibu, California, offered around 10 million euros for Canova's "Three Graces". But thanks to the persistent intervention of the British government and ultimately also the generosity of the art collectors and patrons J. Paul Getty and Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza that this unique gem of European sculpture was preserved for the British Kingdom.