A life size marble statue of Marie Adelaide de Savoy, Duchess of Burgundy. H: 67 in. Inscribed and titled on the base. The Duchess Marie Adelaide of Burgundy later became Dauphine of France and the mother of King Louis XV.
Claude Michel (December 20, 1738 – March 29, 1814), known as Clodion, was a French sculptor in the Rococo style. He was born in Nancy. Here and probably in Lille he spent the earlier years of his life. In 1755 he came to Paris and entered the workshop of Lambert Sigisbert Adam, his maternal uncle, a clever sculptor. He remained four years in this workshop, and on the death of his uncle became a pupil of J. B. Pigalle. In 1759 he obtained the grand prize for sculpture at the Académie Royale; in 1761 he obtained the first silver medal for studies from models; and in 1762 he went to Rome. Here his activity was considerable between 1767 and 1771.
Catherine II of Russia was eager to secure his presence in St Petersburg, but he returned to Paris. Among his patrons, which were very numerous, were the chapter of Rouen, the states of Languedoc, and the Direction generale. His works were frequently exhibited at the Salon. In 1782 he married Catherine Flore, a daughter of the sculptor Augustin Pajou, who subsequently obtained a divorce from him. The agitation caused by the French Revolution drove Clodion in 1792 to Nancy, where he remained until 1798, his energies being spent in the decoration of houses.
Among Clodion’s works are a statue of Montesquieu, a Dying Cleopatra, and a chimneypiece at present in the Victoria and Albert Museum, (London). One of his last groups represented Homer as a beggar being driven away by fishermen (1810). Clodion died in Paris, on the eve of the invasion of Paris by the forces of the Sixth Coalition.