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Vincenzo Vela
THE LAST DAYS OF NAPOLÉON BY

1867

About the Item

This highly evocative bronze by Vincenzo Vela captures the deposed Emperor Napoléon on his deathbed, holding a map of Europe and lost in thought about what might have been. Remarkable among most portrayals of the exiled leader, this highly detailed sculpture depicts Napoléon at his most vulnerable. Nonetheless, Vela perfectly captures his still-heroic bearing, which imparts to this work a monumental quality and quiet dignity. The mate to this figure is the colossal marble at the Musée du Château de Malmaison, which was shown at the Paris Salon of 1867. The founder of the verismo movement in Italy, Vela was one of the great exponents of realism in sculpture. Born in Ligornetto, Switzerland in 1820, he studied under celebrated sculptor, Benedetto Cacciatori. He was also influenced both by the work of Tuscan sculptor Lorenzo Bartolini, who seamlessly combined neoclassicism with naturalism and the romantic painting of Francesco Hayez. Vela soon became one of the most important promoters of realist and verist sculpture, which emphasized true-to-life depictions of subjects. This was a reaction to the more idealistic, classical aesthetic espoused by artists such as Canova. Vela taught at the Albertina Academy in Turin for many years and showed his work at numerous Salons in Italy. His oeuvre is best remembered for its exploration of the social and heroic value of human action. A fervent patriot, he was active both politically and culturally and was elected to the Grand Council in Ticino. Today, many of Vela’s works are preserved in the Museo Vela at Ligornetto, and others can be found in Lugano, Bellinzona, Airolo, as well as Milan and Turin. 9" wide x 15" deep x 17" high
  • Creator:
    Vincenzo Vela (1820 - 1891)
  • Creation Year:
    1867
  • Dimensions:
    Height: 17 in (43.18 cm)Width: 9 in (22.86 cm)Depth: 15 in (38.1 cm)
  • Medium:
  • Movement & Style:
  • Period:
  • Condition:
  • Gallery Location:
    New Orleans, LA
  • Reference Number:
    Seller: 31-25451stDibs: LU1867566982
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