The Montesquieu bust
The object of the month of October is the famous sculpture representing Charles-Louis de Secondat baron de la Brède and Montesquieu by Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, sculptor to the king, dated 1767. Commissioned after the death of the author of De l'esprit des lois (1748) by the Académie des Sciences, Belles-Lettres et Arts de Bordeaux, the sculpture was part of a prosperous period for the city, enriched by both trade and the intellectual exchanges of the Enlightenment. Montesquieu was a member and then director of the Academy, and his death was followed by a veritable cult on the part of the academics and the city. Hence the creation, until the 20th century, of effigies of the great man, all made from this marble, in plaster or porcelain, intended to adorn the various cultural sites of the city.
This presentation takes place at a time when the Académie des Sciences, Belles-Lettres et Arts de Bordeaux is celebrating its tercentenary on 3, 4 and 5 October 2012 and is publishing Un passé qui éclaire l'avenir, 1712-2012, Bordeaux, 2012