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Napoleon Bonaparte and his epoch
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Houdon Jean Antoine
(1741—1828)

Houdon Jean Antoine (1741—1828)

Jean-Antoine Houdon was born in Versailles. As a sculptor, he became famous for his busts and statues of the great thinkers and doers of the time, including those of Denis Diderot (1771), Benjamin Franklin (1778), Thomas Jefferson (1789), Napoleon, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1778), Voltaire (1781), and George Washington (1788). The statue of Washington was the outcome of a specific invitation by Franklin to come across the Atlantic Ocean to Mount Vernon so that Washington could model for him. Ordered by the Legislature of Virginia, the marble statue not adorns the capitol at Richmond. In 1761 Houdon won the Prix de Rome, but he was not influenced greatly by the treasures of art in Rome. His stay in Rome is marked by two characteristic and important productions: the superb "Ecorché", an anatomical model which has served as a guide to all artists since his day, and the statue of Saint Bruno in the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Rome. After ten years stay in Rome, Houdon returned to Paris. He became a member of the Académie Royale in 1771 and a professor in 1778. He was out of favor during the French Revolution (although he escaped imprisonment), but came back into favor under Napoleon Bonaparte. Jean Antoine Houdon died in Paris and was interred at the Cimetière du Montparnasse.


Fujeira, 1972, Bust of Napoleon

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