French sculptor. He was the son of a strolling fiddler from Florence and trained first in Valenciennes with Antoine Gilles and Antoine Pater and then in Paris with Guillaume Coustou I. His earliest known work is the bust of Antoine Pater (terracotta; Valenciennes, Muse des Beaux-Arts) modelled with slightly exaggerated realism in 1738, the same year that he won the Prix de Rome . From 1740 until 1748 he studied at the Acadmie de France in Rome, where, among other works, he executed a marble copy (untraced) of the antique statue of Antinous and drew a series of 30 ornamental vases, which he engraved in Rome and which, bound in a single volume, were presented to Jean-Baptiste Troy, the Director of the Acadmie. They were later republished in Paris, where they were influential in the formation of Neo-classical taste.
In his short Parisian career he was well patronized by Madame de Pompadour. During a visit to Naples he modelled from life an elephant belonging to Charles VII, the king of the Two Sicilies.
In 1753 he left France for Copenhagen, to work on the equestrian statue of Frederick V of Denmark,
and the remainder of his active career was passed there. Although recommended by Bouchardon
for the task, and though ambitious and academically respectable in Denmark, Saly was not a monumental sculptor nor even a portrait sculptor, but a graceful, playful artist who might have enjoyed the vogue of Falconet or Clodion.
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