Prud'hon, Pierre Paul (1758-1823), French painter, whose expression of emotion in painting foreshadowed the romantic style. He was born in Cluny, and trained in Dijon, Paris, and Rome. He was greatly influenced by the soft style of the Renaissance painters Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Correggio and by the graceful neoclassical sculpture of his contemporary, Antonio Canova, who became his friend in Rome.
Prud'hon gained public recognition through his illustrations for books issued by the French publisher Didot and for his designs for French government stationery. Napoleon then employed him as court painter and decorator. Prud'hon was widely acclaimed for his portrait Empress Josephine (1805, Louvre, Paris). He executed a number of allegorical paintings, of which the best known are Justice and Divine Vengeance Pursuing Crime (1808, Louvre) and Venus and Adonis (1812, Wallace Collection, London). In 1816 Prud'hon became a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts. In the era of French neoclassical painting dominated by the stern, sculptural style of Jacques-Louis David, Prud'hon was distinctive for his delicate treatment of the figure and his use of chiaroscuro.
"Prud'hon, Pierre Paul," Microsoft(R) Encarta(R) 98 Encyclopedia. (c) 1993-1997 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.