French sculptor, known as Auguste, one of the most important sculptors of the French Romantic movement. He was born in the working-class Marais district of Paris and was apprenticed to an ornamental carver. He later trained in the studio of Pierre-Jean David dAngers.
His first serious sculptural essays were mostly portrait medallions in the manner of David dAngers.
There is also record of an early relief entitled Two Slaves Cutting the Throat of a Young Roman Actor, said to have belonged to Daumier. By the time of his Salon dbut in 1833, Prault was immersed in the socially conscious subject-matter favoured by the liberal Romantics among whom he moved. His 1833 exhibits were Two Poor Women, Beggary and Gilbert Dying in the Hospital (all destroyed). In 1834 his Pariahs (also destroyed) was refused, presumably because of its pointed social comment, unacceptable in the bourgeois atmosphere of the July monarchy (1830-48). However, his tumultuous plaster relief The Killing
(bronze version, 1854; Chartres, Muse des Beaux-Arts) with its emphasis on extreme physical and emotional states was accepted. All these works were broadly and rapidly executed, with bold forms and daring compositions and subjects. Stylistically, they derived less from Praults teachers and contemporaries than from Michelangelo
and his French followers of the 16th and 17th centuries, Germain Pilon,
and Pierre Puget.
Prault has never enjoyed the continuing fame afforded to his contemporaries Antoine-Louis Barye,
and his teacher David dAngers.
The reason for this is not to be found in the quality of his work but in his aggressive personality; he belonged to the circle of revolutionaries in 1830. Chance events also contributed to his relative obscurity: Prault s studio was destroyed in the fighting around the Commune and many of his plaster models were smashed.
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