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Napoleon Bonaparte - Item #209

$ 680.00



24.5 Inches High x 14 Inches Wide x 9 Inches Deep

This bust may be the first attempt by Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741-1828) at a sculpture of Napoleon Bonaparte. It is known that he made a bust of Napoleon before creating the famed terracotta Napoleon as Hermes, but the former has since been lost. We know what the bust looks like due to the existence of a preliminary study for L'Atelier de Houdon by painter Louis Léopold Boilly (1761-1845) now in the Louvre Museum. The plaster cast of the Caproni Collection resembles the bust that Houdon is shown sculpting in the painting. The hair style, the expression in the eyes, and the bold eyebrows are similar. The coat, which exhibits embroidery, appears to be of the same cut. None of the existing copies of the bust have a signature. Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home, owns one such copy of the sculpture. Jefferson likely received it in commemoration of the Louisiana Purchase which occurred in 1803, when Napoleon was First Consul of France and Jefferson was President. The bust has also been attributed to Antoine-Denis Chaudet (1763-1810) who, like Houdon, created a famous bust of Napoleon.


Artist: Attributed to Jean-Antoine Houdon, Antoine-Denis Chaudet

Museum/Location: Thomas Jefferson's Monticello (copy)

Time Period: Modern, 18th-19th centuries

1911 Catalog ID # - 5463



Huguenaud, Karine. “Jean-Antoine Houdon Sculpting the Bust of First Consul Bonaparte.”, 2012,

"Napoleon Bonaparte (Sculpture)." Monticello,

Poulet, Anne L. "Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France (1769-1821)." Jean-Antoine Houdon: Sculptor of the Enlightenment. University of Chicago Press, 2005, pp. 323-327. Google Books,

Stein, Susan R. The Worlds of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello. Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1993, pp. 225. Monticello,