PIGALLE, Jean-Baptiste
(b. 1714, Paris, d. 1785, Paris)


French sculptor. He studied under Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne and then in Rome (1736-39). In this early career he endured poverty and sickness (his studies in Rome were made at his own expense and he walked there from Paris), but after he was received into the Académie Royale in 1744 with his rapturously acclaimed Mercury (Louvre, Paris, terracotta model in the Metropolitan Museum, New York), he rapidly went on to become the most successful French sculptor of his period. He was a superb craftsman and highly versatile and inventive, equally adept at small genre pieces and the most grandiloquent tomb sculpture. As a portraitist he was noted for his warmth and vivacity. His most famous works are the startling nude figure of Voltaire (Institut de France, Paris, 1770-76) and the spectacular and majestic tomb of Maurice of Saxony (designed 1753) in St Thomas, Strasburg.

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