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Detailed description :Art history

Voltaire Nude

Art Investigation series

 The "Art Investigation" series sets out to solve the mystery of nine works of art in the Musée du Louvre. In what context and circumstances were they made? Who shaped their destinies? How did they come into being… and how did they arrive at the Louvre?

Author(s): Françoise Docquiert

Director(s): Sam Caro

Scientific advisor(s): Guilhem Scherf

Shortly before 1789, an eminent group of Enlightenment writers and philosophers led by Diderot commissioned a statue of Voltaire from the renowned sculptor Pigalle. The resulting work—an emaciated nude figure, like a prefiguration of death—sparked a huge scandal. Pigalle was considered to have transgressed the long-standing tradition of classical statuary that idealized the body; critics also claimed that he had made an ugly figure of the feared and revered philosopher.






26 minutes


Patrick de Carolis, Éclectic Production, avec la participation de France 5, Musée du Louvre

Commercial distribution

Éclectic Production

Non-commercial distribution

Heure Exquise