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Portrait of Napoléone Elisa Baciocchi, Niece of Napoleon I

Portrait of Napoléone Elisa Baciocchi, Niece of Napoleon I

1810-1812

Lorenzo Bartolini

(Italian, 1777-1850)

Marble

Overall: 113 x 39.1 cm (44 1/2 x 15 3/8 in.)

The Thomas L. Fawick Memorial Collection 1979.37

Description

To extend power across the continent, Napoleon arranged for his sisters to marry into the courts of Europe. The sitter is his niece, daughter of the Grand-Duke of Tuscany (the bee on her cup is a Napoleonic emblem). While the girl’s nakedness might startle us today, in the early 1800s depicting children nude emphasized their purity and innocence. The work takes its cues from ancient sculpture, and while the pet dog adds a note of tenderness, it also refers to Diana, goddess of the moon and hunt.

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