French sculptor of Monegasque birth. He trained in Paris in the studio of Augustin Pajou
in the period 1785-88. He was an officer in the French army in Italy during the Revolutionary wars, but by 1802 he had resigned his commission. He stayed in Italy, presumably studying and practising as a sculptor until his return to Paris in 1807. Thanks to Lorenzo Bartolini
he was employed to work on some of the stone bas-reliefs (1807-10; in situ) for the Colonne de la Grande Arme in the Place Vendôme, Paris. He was also a portraitist to the imperial family. At that time he produced one of his best portrait busts - that of Empress Josephine
His first exhibit at the Salon was Cupid Shooting his Arrows (plaster; untraced) in 1808. A marble version (St Petersburg, Hermitage) was ordered by Empress Josephine. Reminiscent of Giambolognas Mercury, this Neoclassical work was completed in 1812.
Louis XVIII made him court sculptor, and Charles X conferred the title baron on him. Of his larger works the most important are the equestrian statue of Louis XIV
(Place de Victoires); the quadriga (four-horse chariot) of the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel; and Hercules Struggling with a Serpent (garden of the Tuileries).
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