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Portrait of Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis (1698 - 1759)

Jean Daullé (French, 1703–1763) , and Johann Georg Wille (German (active France), 1715–1808) After a painting by Robert Tournières (French, 1667–1752) Inscribed with verses by Voltaire (1694–1778)
Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis, a mathematician and scientist, was elected to the Royal Academy of Science at the age of twenty-five. In 1736 Maupertuis led an expedition to Lapland to take measurements to prove Sir Isaac Newton's theory that the earth is flat at the poles. Here the scientist pushes down on a model of the earth with his right hand to emphasize this point. In his memoirs, Jean-Georges Wille, the engraver who assisted Jean Daullé in making this print, describes Maupertuis's outfit: "dressed head to toe in animal skins according to the custom and necessity of the very miserable Laplanders."

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