This finely executed drawing represents an important sculptural monument to the famous French naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc, comte de Buffon (1707-1788). He is shown at full length, dressed with a toga, like an ancient philosopher, and with his hair long and his chest bare. He is holding a tablet in his left hand and a stylus in his right one, noting the phenomena of nature. A terrestrial globe is at his side; at his feet lie a lion, a snake, a dog and a bunch of corals, which are meant to serve as symbols of the vegetal and animal realms. The fact that the figure is standing on a base is an unmistakable indication that the drawing indeed represents a piece of sculpture. The drawing is an extremely faithful record of the monument, which precisely renders contours, relief and of the fall of light and shadow on the statue.


  • Title: Monument to Buffon
  • Creator: Augustin Pajou
  • Date Created: about 1776
  • Location Created: France
  • Physical Dimensions: 37.4 × 23.9 cm (14 3/4 × 9 7/16 in.)
  • Type: Drawing
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Fabricated red chalk
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 2015.16
  • Culture: French
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Purchased in part with funds provided by the Disegno Group
  • Creator Display Name: Augustin Pajou (French, 1730 - 1809)
  • Classification: Drawings (Visual Works)

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