The French sculptor Clodion (1738-1814) is best known for small terra-cotta groups in the rococo style, depicting nymphs and fauns in an erotic and playful manner.
Clodion, whose real name was Claude Michel, was born in Nancy on Dec. 20, 1738, into a family of sculptors. He studied with his uncle, Lambert Sigisbert Adam, a prominent sculptor whose work was significant in transforming the vigorous and dynamic baroque style into the more delicate rococo. Clodion also worked with the famous rococo sculptor Jean Baptiste Pigalle. In 1759 the Royal Academy awarded Clodion the Grand Prize for Sculpture, and he was in Rome between 1762 and 1771. In 1773 he became a member of the academy. He created his most important works during the 1770s and 1780s.
Clodion possessed great technical virtuosity and executed many types of sculpture in a variety of media. During the 1770s he completed two important commissions for the Cathedral of Rouen: the marble St. Cecilia and the bronze Crucified Christ. In 1779 the royal government commissioned him to produce a monumental statue of the Baron de Montesquieu, one of the leading philosophers of the Enlightenment. This marble statue shows the subject seated in a chair and wearing an impressive judge's robe. It is in no way formal or solemn, however, but is a sprightly and vibrant image of one of the most clever intellectuals of the time.
Clodion is most noted for small, intimate terra-cotta sculptures or statuettes of nymphs, fauns, satyrs, and bacchantes, mythological creatures symbolic of erotic pleasure. Such works as the Intoxication of Wine (Nymph and Satyr) and Seated Bacchante Playing with a Child are typical examples and are wholly within the decorative rococo traditions of 18th-century art. These graceful productions convey a mood of exuberant gaiety and depend for their effect upon a delicate play of highly refined textures; the soft medium of terra-cotta allowed Clodion to exploit fully and sensually the contrasting textural values of flesh, hair, fabric, fur, and foliage.
As early as the 1760s, the rococo style was under attack as frivolous and trivial, and during the last half of the century it was gradually replaced by a return to the relative severity of the art of antiquity. Clodion, however, was unaffected by the encroaching neoclassicism, and his statuettes remained popular until the French Revolution. During the Revolutionary and Napoleonic periods neoclassicism triumphed in the arts, and in his later works, such as the reliefs (1806) for the Arc du Carrousel in Paris, Clodion finally accepted the new style. He died in Paris on March 28, 1814.
The most important works on Clodion are in French. General background studies in English include Lady Emilia Francis Dilke, French Architects and Sculptors of the 18th Century (1900); Chandler R. Post, A History of European and American Sculpture, vol. 2 (1921); Germain Bazin, History of Western Sculpture (trans. 1968); and Herbert Keutner, Sculpture: Renaissance to Rococo (trans. 1969). □
"Clodion." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 15, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/clodion
"Clodion." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Retrieved November 15, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/clodion
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.
Clodion (klōdēôN´) or Claude Michel (klōd mēshĕl´), 1738–1814, French rococo sculptor. He executed several important commissions under Louis XVI but is best remembered for his bas-reliefs and small figure groups in bronze and terra-cotta representing fauns, nymphs, and children. He is represented in the Louvre and in the Metropolitan Museum.
"Clodion." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 15, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/clodion
"Clodion." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved November 15, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/clodion