Piotr Michałowski (1800–1855)
Napoleon on Horseback, designed in 1832–1835, cast 1841
Gift of Andrzej Ciechanowiecki in 1974

material: bronze

dimensions: 45,5 x 45 x 16,5 cm

description: The model, probably in plaster, after which this statuette was cast, was made by Michałowski in Paris between 1832 and 1835. The pose of Napoleon was inspired by the iconography of heroic leaders. According to the findings by Jan K. Ostrowski, who analysed the history of the sculpture, the painter presented the original to his father-in-law, Antoni Ostrowski, who emigrated to France. The years of the July Monarchy created favourable conditions for the cult of Napoleon, which resulted in an idea to erect a monument to the emperor in the courtyard of the Louvre. Michałowski’s family, in fact without his knowledge, tried to get the commission of the French government to make the statue according to the artist’s design twice. On account of this, Debraux d’Anglure, a foundryman from Paris, cast the statuette for Antoni Ostrowski in 1841. However, the plan failed. Actually, the monumental statue of Napoleon for the Louvre, worked on by the Italian sculptor Carlo Marochetti for a few years at the same time, was not completed either. Michałowski, who was always a harsh critic of his own work, wrote: “Why did not they ask for my opinion before giving the work, I was never satisfied with, to be assessed by the public?”. The statuette arrived at the National Museum in Krakow in 1974 as a gift of Andrzej Ciechanowiecki from London, who had bought it in an antique shop in Paris. Before, it had been part of a private collection somewhere near Tours. Detachable parts, namely the reins and the sword, have not been preserved. There also exist other copies of the figurine, both in the state and private collections. Anna Zeńczak

exposition: The Gallery of 19th Century Polish Art in Sukiennice,
The Cloth Hall, 1, Main Market Square

key: Romanticism. Towards national art >>>

© 2010 National Museum in Krakow
design & concept: creator.pl