HOUDON, Jean-Antoine
(b. 1741, Versailles, d. 1828, Paris)

Bust of Thomas Jefferson

Marble, height 78 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

In 1785, Houdon traveled to the newly liberated country of America and made many dignified busts of the leaders of that revolution, including Washington and Jefferson.

The fine bust of Jefferson shows a statesman. The tautness of the features, the slight tilt of the head make of it something challenging, without exaggeration. Time has been at work on the features too, and subtly does the sculptor hint at the hollowing out of the throat, as more obviously in the sharply chiseled lines down the cheeks.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.