Born in Paris on 16 January 1737, Lecomte studied under Etienne-Maurice Falconet (1716-1791) and Louis-Claude Vassé (1716-1772). He won the First Prize in Sculpture in 1758, then traveled to Rome in 1761 for the customary training period at the French Academy. By 1768 Lecomte was named an Associate of the Academy (agrée) then a year later he exhibited A Slave Overwhelmed with Sadness (Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen), which was criticized by Diderot in the Paris Salon. Lecomte became a full member of the Academy in 1771: his reception piece was Phorbas and the Infant Oedipus (Louvre), a sweeping vertical figure group in marble, which Diderot claimed was "perhaps a bit too svelte." Lecomte
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