Elected President of the Republic in December 1848, Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte became the Emperor Napoleon II by a coup d'état on 2 December 1851. More than twenty-five different likenesses of him were created, helping to legitimise his authority. On 7 May 1852, the Ministry of Interior commissioned Barre to carve a marble of the present model and five further marbles were subsequently made. Two bronze casts are also known, both in the National Archives.
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