What sort of man was he? Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne the Younger has given his sitter such a particular expression that it's tempting to indulge in a spot of face-reading. This gentleman appears kindly, a little bemused perhaps (certainly his wandering right pupil gives him a distracted air) ... fond and foolish even? Here is Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur at the age of 68, one of the very greatest scientists of the enlightenment. He spent his life peering through a microscope, contemplating the different digestive systems of carnivorous and vegetarian birds, wondering how temperature - a speciality of his - might affect insect populations, moving from pure geometry to, at the end of his life, the structure of birds-nests. He was extremely rich and any stipends he accrued through public office he donated to the Academie des Sciences, who once owned this portrait bust. So he was evidently completely brilliant and utterly selfless. I'm not sure I'd have got those things from the portrait without finding out about the sitter's biography. In a way, the specificity of Lemoyne's observation bolsters the arguments of the next generation of Neo-Classical critics - that this was a sculptor who didn't understand how elevated sculpture should be. But if the abstract ideals of intellect and nobility are not really conveyed, #Lemoyne makes it clear that #Réaumur would have been lovely company as he pottered around his country retreat.