Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741—1828)

by Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741—1828)

 

by Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741—1828)

Plaster, painted to resemble terra cotta; cast about 1788; 27 3/4 x 19 1/8 x 12 in. (70.485 x 48.5775 x 30.48 cm).

by Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741—1828)

 

by Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741—1828)

Cast when Marquis de Lafayette was 28.

by Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741—1828)

Based on the life mask cast by Houdon in 1785.

by Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741—1828)

Marble. State Artwork Collection, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA.

by Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741—1828)

Terra cotta patinated plaster. Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Monticello, Charlottesville, VA.

by Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741—1828)

Plaster. The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, NY.

by Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741—1828)

Based on the life mask cast by Houdon when he visited Mount Vernon in 1785.

by Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741—1828)

Based on the life mask cast by Houdon when he visited Mount Vernon in 1785.

The Revolutionary leaders never intended to create an original and peculiar indigenous culture. Despite all their talk of American exceptionalism and American virtue in contrast with European corruption, they were seeking not to cut themselves off from Europe’s cultural heritage but to embrace it and in fact to fulfill it. It is a mistake to view America’s post-Revolutionary emulation of Europe as a legacy of helpless dependence passed on from colonial days. Americans imitated European styles and forms not because in their naïveté they could nothing else but because they wanted to.... Their revolution was very much an international affair, an attempt to fulfill the cosmopolitan dreams of the Enlightenment.

Gordon S. Wood
Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009)