While walking around I came across this bust of Augustin Pyramus de Candolle (Geneva Old Town in the background).

According to Wikipedia:

Augustin Pyramus de Candolle also spelled Augustin Pyrame de Candolle (4 February 1778 – 9 September 1841) was a Swiss botanist. René Louiche Desfontaines launched de Candolle’s botanical career by recommending him at an herbarium. Within a couple of years de Candolle had established a new genus, and he went on to document hundreds of plant families and create a new natural plant classification system. Although de Candolle’s main focus was botany, he also contributed to related fields such as phytogeography, agronomy, paleontology, medical botany, and economic botany.

Candolle originated the idea of “Nature’s war”, which influenced Charles Darwin and the principle of natural selection. de Candolle recognized that multiple species may develop similar characteristics that did not appear in a common evolutionary ancestor; this was later termed analogy. During his work with plants, de Candolle noticed that plant leaf movements follow a near-24-hour cycle in constant light, suggesting that an internal biological clock exists. Though many scientists doubted de Candolle’s findings, experiments over a century later demonstrated that ″the internal biological clock″ indeed exists.

Candolle’s descendants continued his work on plant classification. Alphonse de Candolle and Casimir Pyrame de Candolle contributed to the Prodromus Systematis Naturalis Regni Vegetabilis, a catalog of plants begun by Augustin Pyramus de Candolle.

Candolle also created the impressive Geneva Jardin Botanique/Botanical Garden. I was privileged that my office of many years overlooked the Jardin Botanique.

The bust had a very elaborate cylindrical base (see above and below) bronze reliefs of the four seasons with their Greek names. These picture above depicts Summer, while the one below bears the Geneva coat of arms (an eagle clutching a key). If I’d known what I have since learned about this monument I would have taken pictures of the other seasons too.

It also bears the inscription “Augustin Pyramus de Candolle. Mort à Genève le IX Septembre MDXCCCXLI (1841)/”Augustin Pyramus de Candolle. Died, Geneva 9 September, MDXCCCXLI” (1841). J. Pradier de Genève. SCULP”. A second inscription reads: “Augustin Pyramus de Candolle. Né à Genève. Le IV Fevrier MDCCLXXVIII. Exécuté en 1913 par Fumière et Cie, Paris d’après le modèle fondu à cire perdue par Eugene Gonon en 1843″/”Augustin Pyramus de Candolle. Born, Geneva, 4 February, MDCCLXXVIII (1778) after a model forged in “cire perdue” by Eugène Gonon in 1843″. NOTE: “Cire perdue” is a process used in metal casting that consists of making a wax model (as of a statuette), coating it with a refractory (as clay) to form a mold, heating until the wax melts and runs out of small holes left in the mold, and then pouring metal into the space left vacant. This is a replica of Pradier’s bust of 1845, originally in the botanical garden, but later in the Musée d’Art et Histoire; Inaugurated 9 May 1914.

According to Wikipedia:

James Pradier (born Jean-Jacques Pradier, pronounced [pʁadje]; May 23, 1790 – June 4, 1852) was a Swiss-born French sculptor best known for his work in the neoclassical style.

Born in Geneva, Pradier was the son of a Protestant family from Toulouse. He left for Paris in 1807 to work with his elder brother, Charles-Simon Pradier, an engraver, and also attended the École des Beaux-Arts beginning in 1808. He won a Prix de Rome that enabled him to study in Rome from 1814 to 1818 at the Villa Médicts. Pradier made his debut at the Salon in 1819 and quickly acquired a reputation as a competent artist. He studied under Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres in Paris. In 1827 he became a member of the Académie des beaux-arts and a professor at the École des Beaux-Arts

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Pradier oversaw the finish of his sculptures himself. He was a friend of the Romantic poets Alfred de Musset, Victor Hugo, Théophile Gautier, and the young Gustave Flaubert, and his atelier was a center, presided over by his beautiful mistress, Juliette Drouet, who became Hugo’s mistress in 1833. After the liaison with Drouet ended, he married Louis d’Arcot in 1833 but they would separate in 1845.

The cool neoclassical surface finish of his sculptures is charged with an eroticism that their mythological themes can barely disguise. At the Salon of 1834, Pradier’s Satyr and Bacchante created a scandalous sensation. Some claimed to recognize the features of the sculptor and his mistress, Juliette Drouet. When the prudish government of Louis-Philippe refused to purchase it, Count Anatole Demidoff bought it and took it to his palazzo in Florence. (It has since come back to the Louvre).

Other famous sculptures by Pradier are the figures of Fame in the spandrels of the Arc de Triomphe, decorative figures at the Madeleine, and his twelve Victories inside the dome of the Invalides, all in Paris. For his native Geneva he completed the statue of the Genevan Jean-Jacques Rousseau erected in 1838 on the tiny Île Rousseau, where Lac Léman empties to form the Rhône. Aside from large-scale sculptures Pradier collaborated with François-Désiré Froment-Meurice, designing jewelry in a ‘Renaissance-Romantic’ style.

He is buried in the Père-Lachaise cemetery. Much of the contents of his studio were bought up after his death by the city museum of Geneva.

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