Capturing the likeness of one of the Western world’s most powerful leaders is this incredible portrait relief bronze of Emperor Napoléon Bonaparte styled as Augustus Caesar. Measuring nearly three feet in height, this stunning sculpture pays homage to the pinnacle of the iconic figure’s power in a grandest and befitting work of sculptural art.
Mounted upon elegant Italian Carrera marble and bordered by a gilt and ebonized frame, this sizable portrait plaque places on full display Napoléon’s deliberate and ingenious use of symbols from antiquity to promote his Empire. By doing so, the Emperor effectively created the illusion of longevity, permanence, and power by styling himself after the civilization historically positioned as the supreme world power – the Roman Empire. Such imagery was used not only within the royal residences but throughout France, ushering in a new period in decorative arts that conveyed the majestic grandeur of his imperial regime.
A nearly identical profile in bronze, yet on a much smaller scale, was executed by the workshop of French bronzier Claude Galle (1759-c.1816). Galle was one of the major bronziers of the late Louis XVI and Empire periods, creating numerous pieces for the palaces of Versailles, Fountainebleau, Compiègne, and Saint-Cloud. After the Revolution, Galle served Napoléon himself, including an immense order worth more than 65,000 francs for the Château of Saint-Cloud alone. Though he rarely, if ever, signed his pieces, their quality and beauty are unmistakable, with many being found in the prominent collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Musée Marmottan in Paris, the Musée National du Château de Malmaison and the Residenz in Munich.
25" wide x 30" high