For his coronation, Napoléon wore a purple velvet cloak, lined with ermine and embroidered with bees. His crown was gold laurel leaves, intended to recall the glory of the Roman Republic. All of his life, he was conscious of symbolism and iconography. This oval tapestry was made after Gérard’s official painting. In total, nine copies were executed: eight busts and one full size. Louis XVIII ordered all of them destroyed, and only three survived: one in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art; one in a private collection; and the one in this exhibition.
Historical Provenance - Prince Murat family collection