Stouf, born in Paris on January 5, 1742, was one of the many students of Guillaume II Coustou (1716-1777). By 1770, which coincided with the first phase of neoclassicism, Stouf found himself in Rome, and fell under the spell of Greco-Roman sculpture. He went through the customary rigors of academic training and was accepted (agrée) in 1784, then became a full member only a year later with The Death of Abel (Louvre); the arresting pose of this crumpled up figure may well have influenced Jacques-Louis David's Death of Bara, done in 1794 (Musée Calvet, Avignon). Early on, Stouf joined fellow sculptors Pierre Julien (1731-1804) and Claude Dejoux (1732-1816) in the gardens of the Château de Betz where he executed
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