Rude, François

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Rude, François

(fräNswä` rüd), 1784–1855, French sculptor. As a Bonapartist, he left Paris after the battle of Waterloo and spent 12 years in Brussels. Rude is best known for his monumental relief on the Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile, The Departure of the Volunteers, known also as La Marseillaise. This work has been much admired for its patriotic fervor and force of execution. Other examples of his art are the portrait of J. L. David (Louvre) and the statue of Marshal Ney in Paris.

Rude, François


Born Jan. 4, 1784, in Dijon; died Nov. 3, 1855, in Paris. French sculptor; representative of romanticism.

Beginning in 1798, Rude studied in Dijon with the painter F. Devosge. In 1807 he continued his artistic training in Paris with the sculptors E. Galle and P. Cartellier. During the Bourbon restoration, Rude emigrated to Belgium, where he lived from 1815 to 1827. There, he became acquainted with J. L. David, whose influence on him was strong. Upon Rude’s return to France, he executed a series of works containing classical mythological themes (for example, Mercury Tying His Sandal, bronze, 1827, Louvre, Paris). Between 1833 and 1836 he produced his most important work—the monumental stone relief La Marseillaise (Departure of the Volunteers in 1792) for the Arch of Triumph in the Place De Gaulle (formerly Place de l’Etoile) in Paris. The revolutionary spirit of the people is embodied in generalized yet profoundly lifelike images, particularly the impassioned allegorical female figure. The relief is marked by rhythmic wholeness, dynamism of composition, and rich modeling of the figures. Rude produced many monuments, including the one to Marshal Ney (bronze, 1852–53), filled with impetuous movement, on the Place de l’Observatoire in Paris.

Rude is also known as a talented draftsman.


Druout, H. Une Carrière: François Rude. Dijon, 1958.