Portrait bust of Benjamin Franklin (Houdon - Metropolitan), 1778
Photo courtesy of The...
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Photo courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Franklin is depicted looking up slightly. His glance is proper right, that is, toward the viewer's left, and his eyelids are raised slightly. The lines in his forehead are indicated, and his brows arched slightly, giving his image a somewhat quizzical expression. His lips are closed, with the edges of his mouth dimpled slightly.

The crown of his head is bare; the hair that is brushed back falls to his shoulders. His coat and shirt are shown. The lapels of his coat are raised and undercut, the top button of his waistcoat is fastened; two other buttonholes are indicated.

The underside of the bust is cut away sharply at the shoulders, leaving a thin edge. The bust is signed on the back of support "houdon f./ 1778." The sculpture is mounted on a round socle, tipped forward at an angle.

All of the contours of the sculpture are somewhat softer, the features more full, than in the version owned by the Philadelphia Museum.

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