PIERRE PUGET, SCULPTOR.
Pierre Puget was born on the 16th of October 1620 in the “Panier” district of Marseille; he died in this town on the 2nd of December 1694. As a painter he is greatly influenced by Italian art but he is also distinguished as a baroque sculptor, designer and even architect.
An orphan at the age of two after his father’s accidental death, Pierre Puget learns the trade of wood carver in the workshop of Master jean Roman who builds galleys for the arsenal. He furthers his learning of carving and sculpting on a trip to Italy in 1638 in the workshops of the Tuscan navy in Livorno and Florence. The following year he is introduced to the workshop of Pietro da Cortona with whom he participates in the creation of the fresco of the main hall of the Barberini palace. It is with this artist that he learns painting.
Back in Marseille in 1643 he receives several orders among which some for the cathedral of the phocaean city. He also works for the Toulon arsenal decorating the galleys of Louis the fourteenth. During this period of time, between 1656 and 1658 he creates one of his most famous sculptors, the gate of the telamons, which today decorates the entrance of the town hall facing the port of Toulon; it marks the beginning of his admiration for mythological works. The following year he creates the “Gallic Hercules” shown in the Louvre Museum in Paris.
He then moves to Genoa, Italy where he will stay from 1663 to 1668. He creates the “Blessed Alexander Sauli” a sculpture in marble shown at the Fine-Arts museum of Marseille with a copy in Genoa.
Puget comes back to France and settles in Toulon where he is appointed as director of construction at the arsenal there. He works at the drawings of this town expansion and simultaneously in Marseille draws up the chapel of the Hospice of Charity of baroque style, the construction of which will be completed by his son. Pierre Puget is snowed under with orders and, among others between 1679 and 1683 creates Milo of Croton, a 2.70m tall sculpture in marble. Also noteworthy are Alexander & Diogenes created between 1671 and 1689 and the freeing of Andromeda by Perseus.
Pierre dies on the 2nd of December 1694 and his body will be buried in the church of Observance. The City of Marseille, in front of his home in the street of Rome, in his honor shall erect a column bearing his bust with the following engraving: “To Pierre Puget, painter, sculptor and architect, from Marseille his home town which he embellished and honored”.
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