Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741-1828)

French Neo-Classical sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon is famous for his portraits, busts and sculptures of the Enlightenment philosophers, inventors and political figures. Houdon s sculptural subjects included Denis Diderot, Benjamin Franklin, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Napoleon.

Houdon was trained in Paris and Rome and is now acknowledged as the preeminent French sculptor of the 18th century. His father was a janitor at an art school and exposed the young Houdon to art from childhood on. By the time Houdon was fifteen, he had won a school prize in drawing and continued receiving accolades that culminated with the Prix de Rome in 1761.

In addition to his portrait busts of political figures, Houdon sculpted renditions of charming children, including The Cold Girl.


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