Germain Pilon

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Pilon, Germain


Born 1536 or 1537 in Paris; died there Feb. 3, 1590. French Renaissance sculptor.

Pilon, the son of a stonemason, studied under P. Bontemps. His early works closely resemble the elegant figures of J. Goujon. This similarity may be seen in Pilon’s monument for the heart of Henry II, which consists of three marble Graces supporting an urn (1563, Louvre, Paris). By the 1570’s, emotional and dramatic elements had intensified in Pilon’s sculptures. His portrait statues and busts from this period are marked by an austere, at times merciless, verisimilitude of representation. Characteristic of his religious sculpture are tense, tragic figures. Works from this period include the sculptural ornament for the tomb of Henry II and Catherine de Médicis (designed by P. Les-cot, bronze and marble, 1563-70, Abbey of Saint-Denis), the tombstone statute of Chancellor René de Birague (bronze, 1583-85, Louvre), The Virgin of Pity (terra-cotta, 1586, Louvre), and the bust Henry II (marble, 1570–75, Louvre).

Appointed controller of the mint in 1572, Pilon also directed medal casting. His medals are marked by virtuoso detailing and by compactness and unity of composition.


Babelon, J. Germain Pilon. Paris [1927].
Gaehtgens, T. W. Zum frühen und reifen Werk des Germain Pilon. Bonn, 1967.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
For example, a portrayal of Catherine and two of her ladies-in-waiting as the Three Graces in a sculpture by Germain Pilon (figure 4) leads Dilke at first to concede that the figures "have been commended by French critics as types of perfect womanhood." For her, however, "their praise does not lie in this." Instead,
The nymphs and goddesses of sculptor Jean Goujon, the Graces and female portraits of Germain Pilon, and the innumerable painted and sculpted nudes produced by the Fontainebleau School have assumed an almost emblematic role.
as it controls the morphology of a story." Allowing herself more space than usual, she comes up with a number of valuable analogies and insights: how, for example, James's reference to sculptors Jean Goujon and Germain Pilon reveals his American heroine in The Reverberator to be more genuine aristocrat than the snobbish Gallicized family she marries into; how Lord Mellifont, the (usually maligned) character in "The Private Life" modelled on Lord Leighton, is the "real hero of the story" and, further, how Leighton's paintings are subtly reflected in the tale's descriptions; or how Holbein's painting The Ambassadors may have supplied James with the title, and helped reinforce the theme (momento mori and carpe diem), of one of his greatest works.