Johan Tobias Sergel


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(b Stockholm, 28 Aug. 1740; d Stockholm, 26 Feb. 1814).

Swedish sculptor and draughtsman of German parentage, active mainly in Stockholm. His early works are in a French Rococo style, but he abandoned this during an eleven-year stay in Rome (1767–78) and became the leading Swedish exponent of Neoclassicism. He was a much livelier artist than many Neoclassical sculptors, however, and although his mature work has impressive clarity of form, it also possesses warmth and vitality. In Rome he was best known for his spirited sketches in clay and terracotta, but after his return to Sweden he was mainly a portraitist. He was court sculptor to Gustavus III and his most important work is a bronze statue of the king (1790–1808) in front of the Royal Palace in Stockholm. Sergel was a prolific draughtsman, many of his drawings being Romantic in spirit, in a style similar to those of Fuseli, who was a friend during his period in Rome. He became a professor at the Stockholm Academy in 1780 and was appointed director in 1810.

Subjects: Art.

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