Bust of Moliere

Jean-Antoine Houdon1778

The Royal Castle in Warsaw – Museum

The Royal Castle in Warsaw – Museum

This marble bust of Moliere was made by the neo-classical French sculptor-portraitist Jean-Antoine Houdon more than 100 years after the death of the playwright. Instead of a reliable sculpted portrait Houdon, who did not have any good and reliable portrait of Moliere at his disposal, created an idealistic portrait of the artist, a symbol of French theatre. A gypsum and polychromatic replica of this sculpture is exhibited today together with the bust of Voltaire in the Green Room. It was most probably brought from Paris in 1784 and enriched the collection of sculptures of King Stanisław August in the Royal Castle in Warsaw. At first, it was placed in the Royal Library. After 1817, the bust was in the possession of the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Warsaw, and was returned to its former place after the Castle’s reconstruction.

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