Artist: Jean-Antoine Houdon | Marie Antoinette's Gossip Guide to the 18th Century: Artist: Jean-Antoine Houdon

June 21, 2008

Artist: Jean-Antoine Houdon

Jean-Antoine Houdon was born at Versailles March 20, 1741. By the age of twelve he was enrolled in the École Royale de Sculpture displaying an enormous talent. He studied under Jean-Baptiste Pigalle, one of the most successful sculptors of Louis XV's time. He then moved to Italy for ten years absorbing the marvels the country had to offer. Pope Clement XIV was fascinated with his talent after he carved St. Bruno stating:
"The Saint would speak, were it not that the rules of his order impose silence."
His influence came from the statues Louis XIV chose to fill his garden at Versailles and when he moved back to France he did a series of Diana's of this same style. His most famous Diana is in the Louvre and a critic claimed that she was refused entrance into the Salon of 1785 because,

"She was too beautiful and too nude to be exposed to the public."
However it is now believed the real reason was that she gave the image of a Diana who was not chaste! ........scandalous....!!

1 comment

  1. Reminds me of Frederick William MacMonnies' "Bacchante and Infant Faun" replica in the courtyard of the Boston Public Library. The original is currently on loan at the Boston. Worth the visit.

    Quel scandale! In 1896 The Woman's Christian Temperance Union had the heinous monstrosity,a gift from the library's architect Charles Follen McKim moved away to less puritanical Metropolitan Museum of Art in N.Y.C.