“… we owe him the explosion of the Baroque, so to speak. He introduced the free-standing picturesque statue, the massive drapery as displayed in paintings, and finally the pathos exalted by the 17th century.”
– M. Mario Labó, Pierre Puget à Gênes (1)
Pierre Puget, sculptor, draughtsman, painter and architect, is considered one of the masters of European Baroque sculpture, creating intense, dramatic works out of marble and bronze for the French court of Louis XIV. His artistic influence reached beyond his native France to northern Italy and central Germany.
In 1638, Puget travelled to Rome where he was deeply influenced by the painter Pietro da Cortona and by the sculptures of Bernini and Michelangelo. Between 1643 and 1656, he was active mainly in Marseille and in Toulon, where he designed the doorway of the Hôtel-de-Ville, one of his early but important architectural works. Puget established his reputation as a sculptor in Genoa (Bust of a King
, c. 1667–68) after moving to the Italian city in 1660. Upon his return to France in 1668, he became Director of the Decorative Workshop at the Toulon arsenal – the largest naval shipyard in France.
Puget’s work was first featured at Versailles in 1683. Though he was one of the most famous artists during the reign of Louis XIV, his often bold and theatrical sculptures were not always favoured by the court, which preferred a more classical approach to art. In 1993, the Louvre dedicated an entire courtyard to his work.
(1) Actes du congrès d’histoire de l’art, organisé par la société de l’histoire de l’art français, Paris, 26 septembre – 5 octobre 1921, III communications présentées aux deuxième section (2e partie) et quatrième section du congrès, Paris, Les presses universitaires de France
Born in Marseille, France, 16 October 1620
Died in Marseille, France, 02 December 1694
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