The Two 'Missing' Statues!

The Libreria Sansoviniana in the Piazzetta di San Marco, Venice
Clients often ask me why two of the statues (of Roman gods and goddesses), which adorn the balustrade of the Libreria Sansoviniana are missing. 
My answer is that, as far as I can make out, they were never there in the first place.  The libreria appears in a canvas by Canaletto, which he painted in the 1740s, and not only are the two statues absent, there is also a clear gap in the balustrade, which, today, runs unbroken. 

Between 1811 and 1814, during the decade-long occupation of Venice by French troops, Domenico Banti's marble statue of Napoleon (in the guise of a Roman emperor) occupied this space. 

Venice's Chamber of Commerce had commissioned the work from Banti, who was one of the pupils of Antonio Canova. Banti and Antonio Bosa had carved the large statues of Roman emperors, which adorn the attic storey of the Ala Napoleonica in the Piazza San Marco. His statue of Napoleon was taken down when the Austrians took over the rule of Venice, in 1814. After a rather chequered history, it was eventually purchased by the Comité Français pour la Sauvegarde de Venice and the CARIVE Foundation and presented to the city. The 8ft-high statue can now be found in the nearby Museo Correr.

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