(b. 1800, Paris, d. 1869, Baden-Baden)
Plaster, height 17 cm
Musée Victor Hugo, Paris
Jean-Pierre Dantan was one of the sculptors who profited from the emergence of the new genre of Romantic sculptural portraiture. His fame started in 1827 when he made his debut at the Salon with a portrait bust. Like David d'Angers, he specialized in celebrities - particularly among the artistic community - and produced busts of (among others) Horace Vernet, Gros, Cherubini, Rossini, and Victor Hugo. He favoured working in metal, which led him to innovate in unusual materials such as zinc.
Victor-Marie Hugo (1802-1885) was a French poet, playwright, novelist, essayist, visual artist, statesman, human rights activist and perhaps the most influential exponent of the Romantic movement in France.