(b York, 6 July 1755; d London, 7 Dec. 1826). English sculptor, draughtsman, and designer, an outstanding figure of the Neoclassical movement. He was the son of a moulder of plaster figures, and after studying at the Royal Academy Schools (where he met his lifelong friend William Blake) he worked for the potter Josiah Wedgwood from 1775 to 1787. The designs he produced for Wedgwood not only strengthened his interest in antique art but also developed the innate sensitivity to line that was his greatest gift. In the same period he gradually built up a practice as a sculptor. From 1787 to 1794 Flaxman lived in Rome. While there he drew illustrations, much influenced by Greek vase painting, to the Iliad and the Odyssey, engraved and published in Rome in 1793, followed by illustrations to Aeschylus (1795) and Dante (1802).

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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