• Voltaire

    Artist:
    Houdon, Jean-Antoine. 1741-1828
    Dimensions:
    height: 138cm

Houdon, Jean-Antoine. 1741-1828

Voltaire

France, 1781

This statue of Voltaire seated in an armchair is among the masterpieces of one of the greatest 18th-century French sculptors, Jean-Antoine Houdon. It was made in 1781 to a commission from Catherine II and delivered to Russia two years later. The great French Enlightenment thinker posed for Houdon shortly before his death. The sculptor depicted Voltaire in clothing reminiscent of Classical Antiquity, giving him the look of an ancient philosopher, as if reminding the viewer of the continuity of philosophical ideas. The broad folds hiding the decrepit body give the figure majestic grandeur. Houdon depicted with unsurpassed skill Voltaire's wizened hands resting on the arms of the chair, the folds on the scrawny neck and the wrinkled face - marks of old age that spares no one, but nonetheless proved powerless with regard to spiritual might. Voltaire's gaze is penetrating and ironic, conveying the innate sharp intellect that he retained to the end of his days.

Title:

Voltaire

Place:

Date:

Material:

Dimensions:

height: 138cm

Acquisition date:

Acquired by Catherine the Great in the 1780s

Inventory Number:

Н.ск-9

Category:

Collection:

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