Pradier was born in Geneva in 1790 to a Protestant family who had fled to Switzerland on the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. His education started in Geneva after being encouraged by his parents to start artistic studies. Pradierʼs teachers included the painter Francois Gerard (1770-1837) and the sculptor Frederic Lemot (1773-1827). While studying under Lemot at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, he was awarded the prestigious Prix de Rome in 1812. Pradier continued his studies and work in Rome for five years and developed his own distinct style but was greatly influenced by artists such as Theodore Gericault and Charles Meynier. After 1824, Pradier pursued a career under the royal Bourbons regime until 1830 and later under the Orleans. During this period in his career, Pradier sculpted the busts of Louis XVIII and Louis Philippe, and several statues of Duke Ferdinand dʼOrleans. The classical look of his work led to his nickname, “the last of the Greeks”.