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Pierre-Paul Prud'hon was born in 1758 in France to a family of a stonemason. His art education begun in 1774 at the Academy of Dijon under François Desvoges.
In 1780, Pierre-Paul continued his art education in Paris under Jean-Baptiste Pierre, First Painter to the king. In 1784, Prud'hon won the Rome Prize of the Burgundian Academy, and travelled to Italy for four years to study works of the Old Masters and was influenced by works of Correggio and Leonardo da Vinci.
In 1789, Pierre-Paul Prud'hon returned to Paris where supported the French Revolution. In 1801 he received commissions from Napoleon for portraits, ceiling decorations, and allegorical paintings.
Prud'hon's paintings were based on classical texts and ancient prototypes, but his dreaminess and melancholy were more akin to Romanticism. His drawings, often black chalk on blue paper, were widely admired.
In 1816 he gained membership in the Institute de France. He is now most admired for his drawings, studies of the nude in black and white chalk on tinted paper, that rank, together with Ingres' very different drawings, among the high achievements of French classicism.
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