Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

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bust of Napoleon I
  • Ambrogio Colombo
    active: Italy
  • bust of Napoleon I, circa 1885
  • Where object was made: Italy
  • bronze
  • Object Height: 54 cm
    Object Height: 21 1/4 in
  • Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Darby
  • Not on display
  • 1965.0021

In the tradition of late nineteenth-century academic Romanticism. The bust is of a man, identified as Napoleon I; his head turned to the right, the Emperor is wearing his famous riding coat and petit chapeau, the latter deocarated with a ribbon cocade. The stern, frowning, and highly idealized features have a smooth, sleek finish which contrasts sharply with the duller, rougher surfaces of the hat and high-collared coat framing the polished face. The long left rever of the coat is pulled to the right in a crushed, undulating fold which provides a vigorous diagonal movement across the front of the composition. A small, semicircular dais in the center and at the base of the work is separetely cast and is attached to the bust by screws; it carries the inscribed plaque referred to above and also serves as a platform for a miniature but ferocious eagle, which crouches with fully outstretched wings and clutches in its talons a branch burning at both ends.