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

Winter (The Cold Girl)

Marble, height 145 cm
Musée Fabre, Montpellier

The marble figure goes back to a series of models of allegorical representations of summer and winter. Unlike Baroque allegories of winter in the shape of an old man or woman warming him/herself at the fire, Houdon opted for the figure of a young girl. She has wrapped a cloth round her head and upper body, while her abdomen and legs are nude. The closed leg posture goes back to the ancient motif of 'Venus pudica', but the nakedness of part of the body is a consistent element of the allegory of winter. Ultimately, Houdon uses these starting points as a justification for creating a very erotic sculpture, which soon acquired great popularity.

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