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

St Bruno

Marble, height 315 cm
Santa Maria degli Angeli, Rome

One of the first sculptures to reflect the Neoclassical orientation was Houdon's St Bruno, a work commissioned by the Carthusian monks at Santa Maria degli Angeli in 1766. As a former pupil of Slodtz, Houdon would have studied his master's St Bruno in St Peter's in Rome, but the differences between the two works are more significant than any similarities. No props are employed by Houdon and the drapery has been scaled down to a few synchronized folds; the work's power resides in its very concentration, the rapt gaze of the saint summing up much of the Carthusian ideal.

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