In 1802, Napoléon brought Italian neoclassical sculptor Antonio Canova to Paris to model his portrait in marble. Canova carved the Colossal Bust as a study for a monumental, full-length statue, Napoléon as Mars the Peacemaker. Napoléon disliked the nudity of the completed statue and would not approve it for public installation. Nevertheless, the bust was still greatly admired for its Olympian size and power to evoke the busts of antiquity. As a result, Canova, his students and the Carrara sculptors made numerous copies, including the one in this exhibition.
This bust was in the collection of Louis-Philippe (King of France 1830-1848). It suffered major damage during the British bombing of the King’s Normandy country-palace during the Nazi occupation in World War II.
Historical Provenance - French Royal Collection, Property of King Louis-Philippe