Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi

François Joseph Bosio (1768-1845), from Lorenzo Bartolini
19th century, white marble

The chiselled and severe face and the high, jutting cheekbones reflect the strong and energetic personality of the eldest sister of Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821). Elisa Bonaparte (1777-1820) married the officer Felice Baciocchi upon her brother’s request. In 1805 she became the Lady of Lucca and Piombino, and the following year of Massa and Carrara as well.

The bust in Ricci’s collection was executed by François Joseph Bosio using the model created by Bartolini, as can be seen from the inscription on the back: “BARTOLINI DIREXIT. BOSIO”. Whilst arcane in the fixed nature of its pose, the bust of Elisa shows that the style of the author was already a highly personal one, based on the imitation of nature and filtered by the finest examples of Tuscan fifteenth-century sculpture. Baron François Joseph Bosio was a very well known French sculptor in the first quarter of the nineteenth century, owing to the works which Napoleon and the Restoration government asked him to execute