Works in focus

The death mask of Napoleon

An unusual discovery

A head sitting on a velvet embroidered cushion with golden fringes. It is barely visible in the darkness and dust of the attic of the Flaubert Museum and the History of Medicine. This apparition is puzzling and makes one feel ill-at-ease. Who is this figure with the long face, the hollow cheeks, the parted lips and the closed eyelids?
After being cleared of dust and examined, this head appears to be in bronze. An inscription can be made out at the base of the neck: Dr F. Antommarchi.
Antommarchi was Napoleon’s last doctor on St Helena. This is the Emperor’s death mask.
The original plaster casting taken from the man himself, is in the Museum of the Army in Paris.

Masque mortuaire de Napoléon  La mort de Napoléon Moulages de têtes de suppliciés de la Seine-Inférieure. Topographie phrénologique du Dr Gall Caricature