Monument to Buffon

Augustin Pajouabout 1776

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

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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