Houdon, Jean Antoine
French-born master sculptor
Houdon was one of the greatest portrait sculptors of all time working on statues in France and the U.S.
Houdon's highly successful career began in Rome with his 'St Bruno' (1767; Sta Maria degli Angeli, Rome). Although he made many religious and mythological sculptures, he was most popular as a portrait sculptor; famous sitters included Voltaire, Benjamin Franklin, Catherine the Great, Napoleon, and Washington.
Ingres studied in Paris under Jacques David. He won the 'Prix de Rome' in 1801. While in Italy, Ingres made many pencil portraits that are distinguished for purity and economy of style.
On his return to Paris he became the recognized leader of the neoclassical school that opposed the new romantic movement led by Delacroix.
Ingres's strengths - superb draftsmanship, and precise neoclassical linear style - were perfectly suited to portraiture.
M. Bertin (1832, Musée du Louvre) is considered one of the finest portraits of the 19th century. Ingres continued to paint vigorously in his old age, producing in his 82nd year his famous 'Turkish Women at the Bath', the culmination of his superb depictions of female nudes.
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