Germain Pilon French Renaissance sculptor
Germain Pilon is one of the best French Renaissance sculptors who excelled as a medalist and portrait sculptor.
He formed different types of sculptures including bronze, marble, terracotta, and wood. He was influenced by the Fontainebleau School in France, Italian Renaissance Sculpture and 16th century Italian Mannerism. He is considered as the most important French sculptors of the 16th-century Cinquecento.
His early work was inspired by Renaissance art which was later transformed to mannerism. His sculptures had great detail and had exaggerated poses, later on, his work shifted to the realistic side demonstrating emotions.
Germain Pilon’s father was a sculptor as well; who had his own workshop from which Pilon may have been trained. Pilon went to work for Pierre Bontemps, the famous French Renaissance artist who was famous for his funeral monuments. Pilon was a professional in almost every fields, both drawing, and sculptures. 1555 he started off providing models for Parisian goldsmiths. His work showed more mannerism, as the figures were lengthened and had exaggerated poses.
His first and most famous marble sculpture Heart of Henri II captured the attention of people everywhere till date. The surprising part is that he was still young and getting a commission by Queen Catherine in 1561 at such an age is extraordinary, this shows that he was not just any other artist. The statue consists of three graces holding an urn over their head. It is also known as the best sculpture of French and Italian sculptural influences. In fact, Pilon upgraded the sculpture by including Mannerism elongated figures. He craved the drapery in such a way that as any form of light touches it, it would look real.
His next work was a mausoleum requested by Catherine d Medici for her husband, children and herself. The marble mausoleum was built at the Abbey Church in the early 1560’s. It was a team effort made by Francesco Primaticcio (1504-1570) who designed the work and Pilon brought it to life, by sculpturing it. Pilon carved the tomb’s two set of effigies which represented death below and eternal life above. The king and queen cast in bronze kneel in prayer on a marble canopy. Pilon provided status for the chapel; he also made statues which were to circle the tomb of the king and queen.
As time passed by Pilon developed a more freestyle as compared to the one seen in France. He died in 1590, he is remembered for his emotional style of art. Some people suggested that it was too personal to inspire anyone to copy it. His work later influenced the French Baroque artists and represented a crucial step towards advanced naturalism.