Portrait of Voltaire, after His Bust by

Augustin de Saint-Aubin is best known for reproductive engraving he made after portraits painted or sculpted by other artists. He produced this design in preparation for one such engraving; its engaging likeness of Voltaire records not a portrait sitting with the great Enlightenment philosopher himself but a careful study of his bust, which Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne II had sculpted in 1748. Having made the drawing with a graphite pencil, Saint-Aubin delicately scored it with a sharp implement to facilitate its transfer to a copper plate for engraving. The verso of the sheet is covered in red chalk: a further deposit of the transfer process.

Graphite, scored, with red chalk used for transfer on the reverse (1770s)

by Augustin de Saint-Aubin (French, 1736-1807)

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