Portrait of a Woman (Carlotta Bonaparte?)
Circle of François-Joseph Bosio (1768-1845)
19th century, White marble
The identification of the young woman portrayed in this elegant and refined bust as Carlotta Bonaparte, a painter and the daughter of the emperor's elder brother, stems from a comparison with the portrait of her and her sister Zenaide by Carlotta’s teacher, Jacques-Louis David. She was a woman of great charm: she was the wife of Napoleon Louis Bonaparte, and after his untimely death she is believed to have had a liaison with Giacomo Leopardi, who frequented her artistic salon in Florence. Carlotta also moved to Rome, possibly because of another affair with a married Polish exile, Count Potockj, that was much talked about in Florence. Restless, she decided to travel to France, but died in childbirth during the journey at the age of 36. This bust is an example of the talent of Bosio as a sculptor. He was a family portraitist for the Bonapartes, and this portrait, due to the features of the hairstyle and dress, can be dated within the third decade of the century.