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19 March 2018 Press release

Monaco celebrates 250th anniversary of the birth of François-Joseph Bosio

François-Joseph Bosio La Nymphe Salmacis, 1819 – 1837 Marbre blanc Collection NMNM, N° 1958.260 © NMNM / Mauro Magliani

Internationally renowned Monegasque sculptor Giuseppe-Francesco Bosio, better known as François-Joseph Bosio, was born in Monaco 250 years ago, on 19 March 1768. 

Fascinated by sculpture from an early age, he drew the attention of Prince Honoré III who recommended him to Parisian sculptor Augustin Pajou, with whom he spent two years, from 1785 to 1787. He then moved to Italy where he was a pupil of Antonio Canova. 

In 1808, he was recruited by Vivant Denon, Director of the Napoleon Museum, who was in charge of imperial commissions. He was presented to Empress Josephine, and from 1810 had the honour of sculpting a bust of the new Empress and of Napoleon himself. Bosio was elected to the Institut de France in 1816 and appointed a professor at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1817. In 1822, Louis XVIII named him “Chief Sculptor to the King” and Charles X made him a baron in 1828. Bosio died in Paris in July 1845. He is buried at the Père Lachaise Cemetery. 

In addition to numerous busts of the French elite of his time (Napoleon, Josephine, Hortense, Napoleon II, Louis XVIII, etc.), Bosio’s most significant works include the Equestrian Statue of Louis XIV (Place des Victoires, Paris), the Monument to Louis XVI, Henry IV as a Child, the Quadriga of the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, Hercules Wrestling Achelous Transformed into a Snake, and The Nymph Salmacis. 

Bosio’s memory continues to be kept alive in Monaco: 

-        On the Rocher, a small square adorned with his bust bears his name;

-        Monaco Art School – Pavilion Bosio is an institute of higher education which specifically aims to provide students with multidisciplinary training in art and stage design;

-        The Prince’s Palace and the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco hold a number of works by Bosio;

-        Finally, the winners of the various categories at the International Television Festival are awarded reproductions of Bosio’s Nymph Salmacis. 

On 19th April, the Principality will celebrate a day in tribute to this great sculptor (programme to follow).

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