Pierre Paul Prudhon France
4-4-1758 Cluny, FRA – 2-16-1823 Paris, FRABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Pierre-Paul Prud'hon received his artistic training in the French provinces and was the pupil of Devosge at the age of sixteen. He went to Italy when he was twenty-six years old to continue his education. On his return to Paris, he decorated some private mansions and his work for wealthy Parisians led him to be held in high esteem at Napoleon's court.
His painting of Empress Josephine portrays her, not as an Empress but as a lovely attractive woman which led some to think that Pierre-Paul Prud'hon might have been in love with her. After the divorce of Napoleon and Josephine, he was also employed by Napoleon' s second wife Marie-Louise.
The Louvre put at its disposal a workshop to realize The Wisdom and the Truth Descending On the Earth from 1798 to 1799. The government awarded him a workshop at the Sorbonne where his wife Jeanne came to harass him. To escape her, the painter asks for the protection of Vivant Denon, director of museums. In 1808 he painted Justice and Divine Vengeance pursuing Crime.
Pierre-Paul Prud'hon was at times clearly influenced by Neo-classicism, at other times by Romanticism. Appreciated by other artists and writers like Stendhal, Delacroix, Millet and Baudelaire for his chiaroscuro and convincing realism, he is probably most famous for his Crucifixion (1822), which he painted for St. Etienne's Cathedral in Metz. Crucifixion now hangs in the Louvre.
The young Théodore Géricault had painted copies of work by Pierre-Paul Prud'hon, whose "thunderously tragic pictures" include his masterpiece, Justice and Divine Vengeance Pursuing Crime, where oppressive darkness and the compositional base of a naked, sprawled corpse obviously anticipate Géricault's painting The Raft of the Medusa.
Art Movement: Romanticism
Influences: Claude François Devosge, Le Corrège, Léonard de Vinci
Influenced: Pierre Félix Trezel