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François Rude

François Rude (June 4, 1784 - November 3, 1855) was a French sculptor.

Born in Dijon, he worked at his father's trade as a stovemaker till the age of sixteen, but in 1809 he went to Paris from the Dijon school of art, and became a pupil of Castellier, obtaining the Grand Prix in 1812. After the second restoration of the Bourbonss he retired to Brussels, where he got some work under the architect Van der Straeten, who employed him to execute nine bas-reliefs in the palace of Tervueren.

At Brussels Rude married Sophie Freiniet, the daughter of a Bonapartist compatriot to whom he had many obligations, but gladly availed himself of an opportunity to return to Paris, where in 1827 a statue of the Virgin for St Gervais and a Mercury fastening his Sandals (now in the Louvre, Paris) obtained much attention.

His great success dates, however, from 1833, when he received the cross of the Legion of Honour for his statue of a Neapolitan Fisher Boy playing with a Tortoise (now in the Louvre), which also procured for him the important commission for all the ornament and one group on the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris. This group, La Marseillaise, aka. Départ des volontaires de 1792 (Departure of the Volunteers of 1792), a work full of energy and fire, immortalizes the name of Rude.

Amongst other productions we may mention Napoleon Awakening to Immortality (Musee d'Orsay, Paris), the statue of the mathematician Gaspard Monge (1848), Jeanne d'Arc, in the gardens of the Luxembourg (1852), a Calvary in bronze for the high altar of St Vincent de Paul (1855), as well as Hebe and the Eagle of Jupiter (Musee des Beaux Arts, Dijon), Love Triumphant and Christ on the Cross, all of which appeared at the Salon of 1857 after his death.

An important pupil of Rude was Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, who subsequently executed his own interpretation of a Neapolitan Fisher Boy (a popular subject at the time).

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This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica. Please update as needed.