Canova was invited to Paris by Napoleon so that he could make his portrait. The artist shaped the clay model in the castle of Saint-Cloud. He then prepared the plaster (it is not known if the plaster cast in the Gipsoteca is the original or a copy of the original which has been lost). The work manifests the character of a superior and extraordinary man. We do not know whether Canova prepared a marble of this work (a marble was sculptured for the Marquise of Aubercorn). Napoleon’s marble bust (Chatsworth Museum) is more idealized as compared to this plaster cast. In Carrara (Italy) there was a factory at that time producing busts of Napoleon. In addition to the busts, Canova also executed for Napoleon the statue in which the emperor is represented as Mars the Peacemaker.