If you want to mimic Napoleon Bonaparte, just stand straight and hide one hand in your jacket. It’s an immediately recognizable pose and unique to Napoleon, right?
In fact, the one-hand-concealed stance can be traced back to the days of Roman togas and even to Greek statues dating from 350 B.C.E. More than a hundred years before Napoleon’s rise to power, it had returned to fashion and was considered a refined pose for a gentleman’s portrait.
I’ve included here a portrait of young Mozart in 1764 and one of George Washington in 1776, both painted years before Napoleon’s fame made the pose iconic to him.
If you search the internet, you can find similar portraits of Joseph Stalin, Karl Marx, Simon Bolivar, the Marquis de Lafayette, Hosni Mubarak, and many others, all with one hand slipped inside their jackets.
According to Napoleon-Series.org, “in 1738 Francois Nivelon published A Book Of Genteel Behavior describing the ‘hand-in-waistcoat’ posture as signifying ‘manly boldness tempered with modesty.’ ”
I agree that “manly boldness” describes Napoleon Bonaparte, but “tempered with modesty”?