Monday, February 17, 2014

Object of the Day, Museum Edition: A Bust of Thomas Jefferson, 1789

Thomas Jefferson
Jean-Antoine Houdon

In the U.S., it's been a celebratory weekend beginning with Valentine's Day and concluding with Presidents' Day which is something of a Bank Holiday.  

Since it is Presidents' Day, let's look at objects related to some U.S. presidents, beginning with this exceptional marble bust of Thomas Jefferson by French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon.

Houdon was considered the “Sculptor of the Enlightenment” and espoused Neoclassical ideals in his crisp, attractive work. This bust of Jefferson was created in 1789 while Jefferson was still Minister to France. Today, the bust is housed in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.  

The terra-cotta prototype for the bust lives at Monticello. 

While we're doing Presidents' Day things today, tomorrow, we'll revisit Valentine's Day and, especially, take a look at this year's annual Valentine's Tea as this week's Treat of the Week.  You won't want to miss that!  I think Mr. Jefferson would have enjoyed it, too.

This and all related images from
The Boston Museum of Fine Arts

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