First Empire period (1808)
Rare bust as hermes, chased and patinated bronze. Around 1808.
Height : 50 cm. Base : 25 x 29 cm. B.E.
Without going back over the genesis of the bust of Chaudet, a true official representation under the Empire, we know that Vivant Denon, at the end of 1807, beginning of 1808, had this bust model cast, in high quality bronze, in about fifteen copies, intended for the dignitaries of the Empire and for presents. The marble model was intended for the administrations. These busts symbolized the presence of the emperor in his palaces, which were the imperial residences.
The model known as "À l'Hermès" (to Hermes) takes up the codes of representation of the Roman emperors and of antiquity more widely. Neoclassicism, a return to antiquity in the arts and political thought, was particularly fashionable in the early years of the Empire.
Bibliography: The important note dedicated to this bust model in the book: " Dominique Vivant Denon, l'oeil de Napoléon ". (Object 494, notice by Isabelle Leroy-Jay Lemaistre). -Gérard HUBERT and Guy LEDOUX LEBARD, " Napoléon, portraits contemporains, bustes et statues ", Arthena, Paris, p.86-87