Pierre Puget

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Pierre Puget

Oil on canvas, 47 x 38 cm
Musee Granet, Aix-en-Provence


Pierre Puget, (born Oct. 16, 1620, at or near Marseille, Fr.—died Dec. 2, 1694, Marseille), the most original of French Baroque sculptors, also a painter and architect.

Puget travelled in Italy as a young man (1640–43), when he was employed by a muralist, Pietro da Cortona, to work on the ceiling decorations of the Barberini Palace in Rome and the Pitti Palace in Florence. Between 1643 and 1656 he was active in Marseille and Toulon chiefly as a painter, but he also carved colossal figureheads for men-of-war. An important sculpture commission in 1656 was for the doorway of the Hôtel de Ville, Toulon; his caryatid figures there, although in the tradition of Roman Baroque, show a strain and an anguish that are similar to the Mannerist works of Michelangelo. Such feelings are passionately expressed in works like the “Milo of Crotona” (c. 1671–84), in which the athlete Milo, whose hand is caught in a tree stump, is portrayed under attack by a lion.

In 1659 Puget went to Paris, where he attracted the attention of Louis XIV’s minister Fouquet. The latter fell from power in 1661 while Puget was in Italy selecting marble for the Hercules commissioned by him (now the “Hercule gaulois” in the Louvre). Puget remained in Italy for several years, establishing a considerable reputation as a sculptor in Genoa. A “St. Sebastian” in Sta. Maria di Carignano is among his best works there.

After 1669 Puget’s life was spent mainly in Toulon and Marseille, where he was engaged in architectural work and the decoration of ships as well as sculpture. His difficult and somewhat arrogant temperament made him unacceptable to Louis XIV’s powerful minister Colbert, and it was only late in life that he achieved some degree of court patronage. His “Milo of Crotona” was taken to Versailles in 1683, and the “Perseus and Andromeda” was well received there in 1684. But Puget was soon the victim of intrigues by his rivals, and his success at court was short-lived. His fine low relief of “Alexander and Diogenes” (c. 1671–93) never reached Versailles, other works planned for Versailles were either refused or frustrated, and Puget became embittered by these failures.

Encyclopædia Britannica


Self-portrait in Old Age
Oil on canvas, 75 x 61 cm
Musee du Louvre, Paris

Portrait of the Artist's Mother
Oil on canvas, 60 x 50 cm
Private collection, Nimes

St Peter Holding the Key of the Paradise
Oil on canvas, 183 x 87 cm
Parish Church, Grandcamp

The Sacrifice of Noah
Oil on canvas, 92 x 62,5 cm
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Marseille

The Visitation
Oil on canvas, 252,5 x 173,5 cm
Musee Granet, Aix-en-Provence

The Holy Family at the Palm-tree
Oil on canvas, 210 x 140 cm
Private collection, Aix-en-Provence

Virgin Giving the Scapular to St Simon Stock
Oil on canvas, 78,5 x 53,5 cm
Musee des Beaux-Arts, Marseille

The Education of Achilles by Chiron
c. 1690
Oil on canvas
Musee des Beaux-Arts, Marseille


c. 1693
Marble, height: 46,5 cm
Academy of Sciences, Lyon

Salvator Mundi
Marble, height: 46 cm
Musee des Beaux-Arts, Marseille

Hercules Standing
c. 1660
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

Hercules at Rest
Marble, height: 160 cm
Musee du Louvre, Paris


Pierre Puget. Hercules at Rest


Pierre Puget. Milo of Crotona. 1671-83. Marble, height 2.7 m. Musee du Louvre, Paris

Milon de Crotone (detail)


Pierre Puget. Self-portrait
Musée du Louvre, Paris


The Faun
Marble, height: 157 cm
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Marseille

Pierre Puget. The Faun
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Marseille

Pierre Puget. The Faun (detail)

Pierre Puget. Philosopher
Marble, height: 39,4 cm
Museum of Art, Cleveland

Pierre Puget. St Sebastian
Church of Santa Maria Assunta di Carignano, Genoa

Pierre Puget. Immaculate Conception
c. 1665
Oratorio di San Filippo Neri, Genoa



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