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  Jean-Baptiste Pigalle  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Jean-Baptiste Pigalle
 
 

Self-Portrait
c. 1777
Terracotta, height 44 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris
 
 
Jean-Baptiste Pigalle, (born January 26, 1714, Paris, France—died August 21, 1785, Paris), French sculptor noted for his stylistically varied and original works.

Born into a family of master carpenters, Pigalle began training as a sculptor at age 18 with Robert Le Lorrain and then studied with Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne. After failing to win the Prix de Rome in 1735, he studied independently in Rome at his own expense from 1736 to 1739. His most famous work is the statue Mercury Attaching His Wings (1744), a classicizing work conveying qualities of both graceful ease and youthful vitality.

Pigalle was made a member of the Royal Academy in 1744; his reception piece was a marble version of the Mercury. The statue became so popular that Louis XV commissioned a life-size marble version of it to present to Frederick II of Prussia in 1749. Pigalle was appointed a professor at the Royal Academy in 1752.

Pigalle enjoyed the patronage of Madame de Pompadour from 1750 to 1758. He created several allegorical figure groups for her, such as Love and Friendship (1758), with some statues bearing her features in stylized form. He achieved considerable popularity with several smaller, decorative, sentimental studies of children done in a Rococo style, such as the Child with a Bird Cage (1750). He was also an original and intelligent portrait sculptor, as is evident in his forcefully observed bust of Diderot (1777) and in the Nude Voltaire (1776), an anatomically realistic rendering of the aged philosopher that caused a furor when first shown. Pigalle’s two most important late commissions were the tomb of the duc d’Harcourt (1769–76) and the grandiose and theatrically effective tomb of the comte de Saxe in Strasbourg (1753–76). Stylistically, Pigalle had difficulty combining his naturalistic tendencies with the conventional classicizing formulas of the time, but his sculptures almost always show qualities of daring, inventiveness, and charm.

Encyclopædia Britannica

 
 
 
 
 


Child with Birdcage
after 1750
Sèvres biscuit, height 47 cm
Private collection






Diderot





Thomas-Aignan Desfriches
Terracotta
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Orléans





Infant with a Cage
1750
Marble, height 47 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris






Fillette à l'oiseau et à la pomme






Mausoleum of the Maréchal de Saxe
1753-1776
Marble
St Thomas, Strasbourg





Mausoleum of the Maréchal de Saxe (detail)
1753-1776
Marble
St Thomas, Strasbourg





Mausoleum of the Maréchal de Saxe (detail)
1753-1776
Marble
St Thomas, Strasbourg






Mausoleum of the Maréchal de Saxe (detail)
1753-1776
Marble
St Thomas, Strasbourg





Mercury Tying his Sandal
1744
Marble, height 58 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris






Mercury Tying his Sandal
1744
Marble, height 58 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris






Mercury
1742
Terracotta
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York






Monument to Louis XV (detail)
Bronze
Place Royale, Reims






Love embracing Friendship






Bust of Madame de Pompadour
1748-51
Marble
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York






Mme de Pompadour as the Goddess of Friendship
1753
Terracotta
Private collection






Georges­Martin Guérin







Voltaire







Voltaire





Voltaire Nude
1776
Marble, height 150 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris






Venus

 
 
 

 
 
 
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