Pierre-Paul Prudhon

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Prud’hon, Pierre-Paul


Born Apr. 4, 1758, in Cluny; died Feb. 14, 1823, in Paris. French painter and graphic artist.

Prud’hon studied in Dijon with F. Devosge (until 1780) and in Paris at the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture (until 1783). Between 1784 and 1789 he traveled in Italy, where he became strongly influenced by ancient art and by the paintings of Leonardo da Vinci and Correggio. Prud’hon’s painted works were based mainly on mythological and allegorical subjects. Examples include Psyche Carried Off by Zephyrs (1808, Louvre, Paris) and Justice and Divine Vengeance Pursuing Crime (1808, Louvre). Prud’hon also painted portraits, including those of the Anthonys (1796, Museum of Fine Arts, Dijon) and that of Empress Josephine (1805, Louvre). In addition, the artist worked as an illustrator and lithographer.

Prud’hon combined elements of late classicism with a grace, softness, and intimacy inherited from 18th-century art. At the same time, a number of his paintings, filled with emotion and sentimentalism, anticipated romanticism. Prud’hon’s drawings were precisely executed and marked by expressive chiaroscuro (Portrait of C. Mayer, Louvre).


Clément, C. Prud’hon, sa vie, ses oeuvres et sa correspondance, 3rd ed. Paris, 1880.
Régamey, R. Prud’hon. Paris, 1928.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.