1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Prud'hon, Pierre

PRUD'HON, PIERRE (1758–1823), French painter, born at Cluny on the 4th of April 1758, was the third son of a mason. The monks of the abbey undertook his education, and by the aid of the bishop of Mâcon he was placed with Devosges, director of the art school at Dijon. In 1778 Prud'hon went to Paris armed with a letter to Wille, the celebrated engraver, and three years later he obtained the triennial prize of the states of Burgundy, which enabled him to go to Rome, where he became intimate with Canova. He returned to Paris in 1787, and led for some time a precarious existence. The illustrations which he executed for the Daphnis and Chloe published by Didot brought him into notice, and his reputation was extended by the success of his decorations in the Hôtel de Landry (now Rothschild), his ceiling painting of “Truth and Wisdom” for Versailles (Louvre), and of “Diana and Jupiter” for the Gallery of Antiquities in the Louvre. In 1808 he exhibited “Crime pursued by Vengeance and Justice” (Louvre, engraved by Royer which had been commissioned for the assize courts, and “Psyche carried off by Zephyrs” (engraved by Massard). These two remarkable compositions brought Prud'hon the Legion of Honour; and in 1816 he entered the Institute. Easy as to fortune, and consoled for the misery of his marriage by the devoted care of his excellent and charming pupil, Mlle Mayer, Prud'hon's situation seemed enviable; but Mlle Mayer's tragical suicide on the 26th of May 1821 brought ruin to his home, and two years later (Feb. 16, 1823) Prud'hon followed her to the grave. Mlle Mayer (1778–1821) was his ablest pupil. Her “Abandoned Mother” and “Happy Mother” are in the Louvre.

Voiart, “Notice historique de la vie et oeuvres de P. Prud'hon,” in Arch. de l'art français; Qu. de Quincy, Discours prononcé sur la tombe de Prud'hon, Fév. 1823; Eugène Delacroix, Rev. des deux mondes, 1846; Charles Blanc, Hist. des peintres français.