Location Seen: The Basilica of Saint-Denis, Saint-Denis, Île-de-France, France
Artist: Jean-Guillaume Moitte (1746-1810)
Title: Marie The Wife of Jean-Guillaume
Original Location: In the Crypt area of the Basilica of Saint-Denis.
The marble sculpture is the work of Jean-Guillaume Moitte (1746-1810). Moitte won the first prize in the Prix de Rome for sculpture in 1768, and he received many public commissions, including the first decoration of the pediment of the Pantheon. Here he had depicted his wife with her hands clasped in a gesture of despair, apparently for a family tomb. A few decades later, it was assimilated by Alexandre Lenoir to an allegory of Charity and integrated into a cenotaph in memory of Louis XV, designed in 1841. From this monument, only this statue remains.
Moitte was the son of Pierre-Etienne Moitte. He became the sculptor of Pigalle then Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne. He won the Prix de Rome for sculpture in 1768 with David carrying the head of Goliath in triumph. He then entered the École royale des élèves protégés before a stay at the Rome, though it was cut short due to illness.
He worked for the king's goldsmith Auguste and participated in decorative works for monuments in capital. He was commissioned to produce sculptures of generals who had died in battle such as one of Custine for the musée de Versailles, the tomb of Louis Desaix at Grand Saint-Bernard or that of Leclerc at the Panthéon de Paris. He also designed and sculpted the pediment for the Panthéon during the French Revolution, with the theme of the Fatherland crowning the civil and heroic virtues Moitte and Philippe-Laurent Roland were the main sculptors for the exterior of the hôtel de Salm.