Finding Napoleon in St Petersburg, Florida

 Salvador Dali Museum, St Petersburg, Florida

Napoleon as First Consul, Unknown Artist, MFA, St Petersburg FLThis past weekend I attended the Historical Novel Society’s annual convention (more on that later) in St Petersburg, Florida. For a city of 250,000 residents, St Petersburg has a surprising trove of art museums, including the Salvador Dali Museum shown in the photo above.

Of course I was on the lookout for Napoleon. Sure enough, in the Museum of Fine Arts, I found this early 1800s bust of him as First Consul. It’s a somewhat commonplace piece by an unknown artist who modeled it after work by the artist Joseph Chinard who in turn was influenced by the Italian sculptor Antonio Canova. Personally, I prefer Canova’s work because it exudes the power and determination of its subject. Both busts are fine examples of Napoleon’s desire to be portrayed as a Roman hero. 

But judge for yourself. Here’s a photo I took two years ago, in the Chateau de Malmaison, of Canova’s bust of Napoleon: 

 

Napoleon bust by Antonio Canova at Malmaison

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Copyright © 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 Margaret Rodenberg