Terracotta edition signed and dated on reverse J.Budelot 1775
It was not until 1778 that the sculptor Houdon was able to model and carve a bust of Jean-Jacques Rousseau who had refused throughout his life to lend himself to the sittings. Called to Ermenonville to draw a mortuary mask from the deceased, he later systematically inspired himself from the mask, although many of his busts, especially the Roman busts, present an idealized and rejuvenated face of the philosopher.
Our bust, on the other hand, dated 1775, shows a Jean-Jacques Rousseau marked by age, but presents the philosopher dressed in the same jacket and jabot, without coat, than that of the busts of Houdon "à la française", the usual dress of these years, as well as the wig without catogan typical of the years 1770.
We note that our bust, unlike the busts by Houdon and their innumerable derivatives, does not have a nose slightly embedded on the left flank. The medico-legal report on the philosopher's death indicated a wound at this level, marked on the mortuary mask, on the basis of which Houdon worked.
A bronze version of our bust is known, with a minor variation on the garment, signed and dated also on the reverse side "J.Budelot 1775", which was sold at Sotheby's in London in 1980.
Jean-Baptiste Budelot is a documented but little-known sculptor of the second half of the 18th century, of which only two works are known: the bust of Rousseau and that of Vaucanson. A pupil of Bridan at the Royal Academy where he won a medal in 1761, he exhibited in the Salon of the Coliseum in 1777 - perhaps with this bust of Rousseau, then regularly in the Salon of 1791 to 1804 statues and mythological groups.
Very good condition, minor chips and restorations to the patina.
On a circular waisted socle; inscribed 'J.Budelot 1775' on the back.
Height of bust: 25,5 cm
Total 32,5 cm
1 500 €