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Clodion  

Glenn F. Benge

[Michel, Claude]

(b Nancy, Dec 20, 1738; d Paris, Mar 28, 1814).

French sculptor. He was the greatest master of lyrical small-scale sculpture active in France in the later 18th century, an age that witnessed the decline of the Rococo, the rise of Romanticism and the cataclysms of revolution. Clodion’s works in terracotta embody a host of fascinating and still unresolved problems, questions of autograph and attribution, the chronology of his many undated designs, the artistic sources of his works, and the position of his lyric art in the radically changing society of his time. Little is known of the sculptural activity of Clodion’s brothers (see 1992 exh. cat., nos 90–93): Sigisbert-Martial Michel (b13 Jan 1727); Sigisbert-François Michel (b Nancy, 24 Sep 1728; d Paris, 21 May 1811; see 1992 exh. cat., p. 29, nos 11 and 12); Nicholas Michel (b17 Nov 1733); and Pierre-Joseph Michel (b2 Nov 1737).

Clodion trained in Paris with his uncle ...