The preeminent sculptor of the French Enlightenment, Jean Antoine Houdon, was chiefly known for his portraiture, a specialty that brought him popularity among his contemporaries and posterity equally, despite a deficiency of concurrent accomplishment on the scale that was massive. The Enlightenment merits of truth to nature, ease, and elegance empyrean reflection was got by all through his skill to translate into marble a subject's character and the energetic essence of living flesh, their internal in addition to outer life.
Three of the sculptures he made during his stay in the Ecorché, Rome?St Bruno, and John the Baptist?incorporate hallmarks of his later work. In particular, the Ecorché (Flayed Man), which functioned as the basis for the commendable figure of John the Baptist, shows Houdon's preoccupation with anatomical study. In addition, it shows his interest in replica and molding; like many of his most popular works, he'd repeat it innumerable times. But these three statues additionally point to a sector of action in which he'd finally experience discouragement: commissions for full scale monolithic sculpture, the greatest source of recognition and monetary benefit for professional sculptors of the age.
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