Portrait of Marie Louise, Archduchess of Austria and Empress of the French
François Joseph Bosio (1768-1845)
1810, White marble
On the occasion of Napoleon's second marriage, to Marie Louise of Austria, François Joseph Bosio, the Emperor's official portrait painter, was called to Compiègne to make the bride’s official portrait. The daughter of Emperor Franz I of Austria, Marie Louise was engaged to Napoleon at the age of nineteen to seal the Treaty of Schönbrunn between France and Austria after the latter's defeat at the Battle of Wagram in 1809. The empress is dressed in an antique-style tunic, with a wide shawl wrapped around her chest and pinned at the shoulder. She wears a tiara, from which a few curls fall onto her forehead; her hair is in two braids wrapped around her head. This bust, which enjoyed great popularity, became the official portrait of Marie Louise, and went on to adorn official salons. Antonio Canova (1757 – 1822) and Bosio were the only two sculptors to be granted the privilege of having the new empress sit for them.