DANTAN, Jean-Pierre
(b. 1800, Paris, d. 1869, Baden-Baden)


Jean-Pierre Dantan, known as Dantan the Younger, was part of a French family of sculptors. Together with his brother, Antoine-Laurent Dantan (1798-1878), known as Dantan the Elder, they both served an apprenticeship with their father, an ornamental wood-carver.

Antoine-Laurent entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, in 1816, and Jean-Pierre in 1823. Both were the pupils of François-Joseph Bosio, who passed on to them his skill in elegant, conventional portraiture. While the elder brother was preparing his entry for the Prix de Rome, the younger worked on a variety of decorative commissions. By 1826 he had executed a statuette (Paris, Carnavalet) portraying César Ducornet (1805-56), an armless painter. Because of the subject's disability, this work cannot rank as the first of his caricatures or portraits chargés, as Jean-Pierre termed his subsequent humorous sculptures; but the interest in physical peculiarities that it displays was in accordance with the Romantics' desire to accommodate the full range of natural phenomena, even the disturbing.