The J. Paul Getty Museum


Object Details




Augustin Pajou (French, 1730 - 1809)




France (Place Created)


about 1775–1785



Object Number:



72.5 × 29.8 × 35.2 cm (28 9/16 × 11 3/4 × 13 7/8 in.)

Credit Line:

Gift of Guy Ladrière

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Object Description

Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom and war, strides forward to protect Painting, Sculpture, Music, Justice, and Medicine, the attributes of which lie at her feet.

Augustin Pajou's midsize marble statues were generally intended for wealthy collectors. Scholars believe this piece was originally owned by Duke Étienne-François de Choiseul, an important member of the French aristocracy and a collector of paintings and prints. Choiseul also had a predilection for refined cabinet sculptures, like Pajou's figure of Minerva, and owned at least two other works by the sculptor. Pajou's accomplished rendering of antiquity, very much consistent with Enlightenment taste in the late 1700s, undoubtedly appealed to Choiseul. The subject of the statuette aptly reflects Choiseul's love of art, his diplomatic skills, and his position as secretary of state for war under the French king Louis XV.

by 1785

Probably Étienne-François, duc de Choiseul-Stainville, French, 1719 - 1785 [sold, Paris, December 18, 1786, lot 160.]

by 1988

André Lemaire (Paris, France)
Source: A. Lemaire advertisement. Burlington Magazine 130, no. 1020 (March 1988), p. xxxix, ill. [entitled as Bellona].

by 1990

Guy Ladrière (Paris, France), French, born 1946, donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1998.
Source: Charles Ratton & Guy Ladrière advertisement. Revue du Louvre et des Musées de France, no. 2 (1990), ill. [entitled as Bellona].


Chaussard, Pierre-Jean-Baptiste. "Notice inédite et historique sur la vie et les ouvrages de M. Augustin Pajou..." In Le Pausanias français, ou, Description du Salon de 1806. (Paris: F. Buisson, 1806), p. 470.

Lami, Stanislas. Dictionnaire des sculpteurs de l'école française au dix-huitième siècle. 2 vols. (Paris: H. Champion, 1910-1911; Nendeln, Liechtenstein: Kraus Reprint, 1970), vol. 2 (1911), p. 204.

Stein, Henri. Augustin Pajou (Paris: Émile Lévy, 1912), p. 206.

Draper, James David, and Guilhem Scherf, eds. Augustin Pajou Royal Sculptor 1730-1809, exh. cat. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1998), pp. 187-88.