Clodion and Houdon are today held in almost equal honor, although the former must always be remembered as an artist who did a small thing consummately well, whereas the latter’s genius extended over a far larger field. The work of the one is an expression of the unrepentant paganism of the eighteenth century, that of the other represents the grave but by no means gloomy attitude of the philosophizing intellectuals of the epoch.
No artist ever excelled Clodion in complete mastery over his medium, and in the manipulation of the terracotta in which he preferred to work he was unique. The material lends itself to a particularly lifelike texture and his dancing nymphs and satyrs are always vividly and splendidly alive and young. The group of the Bacchante and Satyr is one of Clodion’s large and important works, and is signed by him “Clodion.” The surface has been brought to a high state of finish. It was formerly in the collections of Horace de Gundbourg and Jacques Doucet in Paris.