Jean-Antoine Houdon (French, 1741-1828)
terracotta, Overall: 49.5 x 40 x 28.5 cm (19 7/16 x 15 11/16 x 11 3/16 in.); with base: 64 x 39.3 x 28.1 cm (25 3/16 x 15 7/16 x 11 1/16 in.). Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1988.59
A well-known composer of the 1700s, Gluck reformed opera by bringing unprecedented simplicity and sincerity to his music and staging, qualities shared by Houdonâ€™s bust. This portrait, by depicting Gluckâ€™s pockmarked face, was perceived as a natural and truthful representation. Yet, he would never have appeared publicly with unkempt hair and an open collar, which constituted the standard for representing an artist.
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