Winter Time According to Houdon

Dedicated to the sculptural work of Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741-1828), the exhibition “Jean-Antoine Houdon: Sculpture and Sensibility” in the Liebieghaus in Frankfurt am Main will be on display from 29 October 2009 until 28 February 2010. As one of the most famous French artists of the eighteenth century, an exemplary sculptor of the Enlightenment, and the most successful portrait sculptor of his time, Houdon worked in France, Germany, Russia, Italy, and the United States of America. He created portraits of middle-class clients, French and American philosophers of the Enlightenment like Voltaire, Denis Diderot, or Benjamin Franklin, but also of rulers such as Empress Catherine the Great of Russia, Louis XVI, and Napoleon I. Like no other sculptor of his time he knew how to capture his models’ subtle features and to give form to their character in different materials. In addition to portraits, he made full-length statues dedicated to religious and allegorical themes as well as subjects from antiquity. His allegory presenting winter as an erotic, shy, mysterious woman, a enlightened Mona Lisa or a Aphrodite of Knidos by Praxiteles ? Houdon was a rebel, he broke with the mythological orientation, the rigid and dogmatic rules of academies and the out of date codices of the nobility. He expressed universal human feelings and behaviour, characters, their destinies and and behaviour.