*Bust of Voltaire Wearing a Wig SR
Hand patinated reproduction. Mold made from a print of the original work, a bust of Voltaire was made by Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741-1828).
Voltaire, a scathing but brilliant philosopher, playwright, poet, historian, sociologist and pamphleteer, has become the symbol of the French spirit of during the Age of Enlightenment.
With the triumphant return of the writer to Paris in February 1778, Jean-Antoine Houdon was finally able to immortalise the features of the writer and thus complete his series of portraits of great men.
The artist made several busts, all different in pose or material. In this particular version, Voltaire is wearing the clothes of his time and a wig. The expression of sarcastic amusement, the famous "Voltarian" grin, has been captured in marble and gives an almost palpable image of the intelligence of this great mind. The skin of the emaciated face is stretched over the cheekbones. The prominent eyebrows, huge forehead and expression are unquestionably those of an outstanding personality. Something seems to have caught his attention or perhaps he is on the point of entering into the heart of a discussion. Whatever the reason for his expression, his mind seems to be constantly on the alert.
The success of the busts of Voltaire by Houdon explains the large number of genuine replicas or copies from his studio that still exist to this day.