Model for a Proposed Monument to Commemorate the Invention of the Balloon
Clodion (Claude Michel) French
The first successful ascension of the hot-air balloon was achieved by the Montgolfier brothers in 1783. It lasted only ten minutes but was widely celebrated. By the end of the year, the French crown floated a proposed monument. Clodion was one of seven talented sculptors to compete. His airy Rococo flight of fancy-in which putti pile bundles of hay to launch the balloon, guided by Fame and propelled by Aeolus-is difficult to imagine in marble. Gradually, hot-air ballooning spread to the point of being commonplace, and the project was dropped.
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