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Thomas Jefferson

Jean Antoine Houdon French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 899

Upon succeeding Franklin as American minister to France, Jefferson presented his credentials to Louis XVI at Versailles in 1785. While in Paris, he sat for this marble bust by Houdon, a sculptor he regarded highly. Jefferson’s head is slightly tilted, and his eyes, deeply carved below bushy eyebrows, look away from the viewer. Renowned for his lifelike portraits, the artist rendered the sitter dressed and coiffed according to contemporary fashion.

Thomas Jefferson, Jean Antoine Houdon (French, Versailles 1741–1828 Paris), Marble

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Photograph © 2018 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston