Edme Bouchardon


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(b Chaumont-en-Bassigny, Haute-Marne, 29 May 1698; d Paris, 27 July 1762).

French sculptor whose work marks the beginning of the Neoclassical reaction against the Rococo style. He won the Prix de Rome in 1722 and was in Italy from 1723 to 1732. His best-known work of this period is a marble bust of the antiquarian Philippe Stosch (1727, Skulpturengalerie, Berlin) that is very consciously in the antique manner. Although his style later softened somewhat, notably in the famous Cupid Making a Bow from Hercules' Club (c.1750, Louvre, Paris), it remained too severe for court taste. Bouchardon had many supporters, however, and his contemporary reputation stood high—indeed he was generally regarded as the greatest French sculptor of his time (modern taste has inclined more towards artists with greater warmth, such as Falconet and Pigalle). His most important work was an equestrian statue of Louis XV, commissioned by the City of Paris in 1749. It was cast in 1758 but not erected until 1763, a year after Bouchardon's death. It stood in the Place Louis XV (later the Place de la Concorde) and was destroyed during the Revolution. Several small copies exist, as well as engravings, showing that it was based on the famous Marcus Aurelius. Bouchardon's father, Jean-Baptiste (1667–1742), and his brother, Jacques-Philippe (1711–53), were also sculptors.

Subjects: Art.

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