Jean-Dominique Rachette

Born: 1744, Montpellier (France)
Died: 1809, St Petersburg

French sculptor. Born to French sculptor Dominique Rachette and Claudine Bienfait in Montpellier and baptised in the parish of Saint-Denis (1744). Grew up in Copenhagen, where he studied at the Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi (early 1760s). Awarded a minor gold medal (1763) and a major gold medal (1764). Eloped with Esther-Christine van Dockum (1746–1835), daughter of Danish mill builder Martin von Dockum (1705–1769), and married at the Fransk Reformeret Kirke in Copenhagen (1765). Studied sculpture at the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture in Paris (1766–69). Lived and worked in Denmark (1769–70), Hamburg (1771) and Berlin (1772). Created decorative sculptures at Wandsbeker Schloss (1773–77) and low reliefs in Hamburg (1778). Invited by Prince Alexander Vyazemsky to Russia (1779), where he designed models for the Imperial Porcelain Factory (1779–1804). Created the Peoples of Russia series of figurines (1780s) and the Arabesque Service (1784). Decorated the Governing Senate (1779) and buildings designed by Charles Cameron at Pavlovsk (1780–84) and Tsarskoe Selo (1785–87). Sculpted statues of Catherine the Great (1788) and Count Pyotr Rumyantsev-Zadunaisky (1793) and busts of industrialist Prokofy Demidov (1779–80), Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler (1784), Gavriil Kozlov (c. 1790) and Gavrila Derzhavin and his first wife Ekaterina Bastidon (1793–94). Academician (1785), assistant professor (1794), professor (1800). Designed the tombstone of Prince Alexander Bezborodko in the Church of the Annunciation at the St Alexander Nevsky Monastery (1803). Decorated the Grand Cascade at Peterhof (1800–06) and the Kazan Cathedral in St Petersburg (1806–09). Raised to the rank of the nobility (1796) and adopted Russian citizenship (1806). Died in St Petersburg and buried at the Smolensk Lutheran Cemetery on Decembrists’ Island (1809).

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