The present bust is carved after Canova's monumental full length marble in the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg (inv. no. 19), which was commissioned by Joséphine de Beauharnais between 1808 and 1812. Two further models were thenceforth commissioned, the first of which is in the Neue Pinakothek, Munich (inv. no. WAF B 4), and the second in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (inv. no. 2003.21.2). The subject invoked such widespread admiration that Canova was obliged to produce a number of busts to satisfy demand. The continued excursions of Grand Tourists throughout the nineteenth century ensured the sustained reproduction of these busts, as exemplified by the present lot.
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