engraved V. VELA.F. 1867., F. BARBEDIENNE. FONDEUR and impressed with the RÉDUCTION MÉCANIQUE A. COLLAS BREVETÉ pastille; engraved LOUIS ROCHET and impressed with the Susse Frères stamp, respectively.
bronze, brown patina
Vela was one of the great exponents of Realism in sculpture and the founder of the verismo movement in Italy. His Last Days of Napoleon is a prime example of that combination of melodrama with acute attention to detail. At the Paris Salon of 1867, Vela's Napoleon was a sensation, although it elicited much debate as to whether it was too Realist or too Romantic.
Vela chose to depict Napoleon as a chair-bound invalid, tracing the ruins of his former empire across a map of Europe. Nonetheless he has retained a heroic bearing which gives the composition its monumentality and emotional tangibility
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