COUSTOU, Guillaume I
(b. 1677, Lyon, d. 1746, Paris)

Bust of Samuel Bernard

c. 1727
Marble, height 96 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Guillaume Coustou was a distinguished member of a prominent French dynasty of sculptors. The gardens of Versailles and other châteaux provided this family with numerous opportunities for work. Along with garden and palace decorations came commissions to create portraits of the estate owners. A fine example of Guillaume Coustou's portraits is his bust of the wealthy banker and important artistic patron Samuel Bernard, shown with wind-blown cravat and proudly wearing the order of the Saint-Michel, still vigorous and tough, even calculating, in his old age.