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Jean-Joseph Dassy was born on December 27, 1791 in Marseille. His father was a mason. His younger brother Louis-Toussaint Dassy was destined for the priesthood while his other two younger brothers, Pierre and Hippolyte, helped their father in his marble workshop. Three of his sisters were nuns.
Initially a student of Goubaud and Aubert at the École des Beaux-Arts in Marseille, he then went to Paris where, in 1817, he became one of the best students of Girodet-Trioson.
^Masson, Paul (under the direction of), Encyclopédie départementale des Bouches-du-Rhône (in French), Departmental archives of the Bouches-du-Rhône, Marseille, 17 volumes published from 1913 to 1937, Volume VI, p. 402.