François Rude

(1784 - 1855)


François Rude (1784-1855), was a highly regarded French romantic sculptor. He entered the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris at the age of sixteen, where he studied under François Devosage. He also studied under Fremiet and Denon and worked in Gaulle's studio on a bas-relief for the Vendome Column.

In 1810, Rude was a runner up in the 'premier grand Prix de Rome' which he then won in 1812 with his 'Artistee pleurant ses abeilles'. He established himself in Paris in 1827 at the rue Denfer. He became Chevalier of the Legion d'Honneur in 1833 for his statue of a Neapolitan Fisher Boy playing with a Tortoise, which is now in the Louvre.

Rude exhibited continually from 1810, winning the gold medal of honour at the Exposition of 1855.

He had many state commissions for statuary and bas-reliefs and sculpted monuments to his illustrious contemporaries. He executed numerous bronzes of Napoleonic marshalls and is best known for the colossal group 'Le Depart' on the Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile, symbolising 'The Marseillaise'.

Rude's greatest masterpiece was a romantic sculpture, 'Le Depart des volontaires' which he worked on between 1835-1836. This piece shocked many critics by its powerfulness and the boldness of its conception.

The museum 'des beaux-arts' and the Rude museum in Dijon both have good collections of his important original work.