DICTATORS’ ARROGANT ART
Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker
Napoleon probably wasn't going for "ironic" in naming a statue "Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker," but then again, given his later displeasure with it, who knows? The French emperor ordered the Italian artist Antonia Canova to create a nude statue that would depict him as Mars the Peacemaker. Canova had just spent time with Napoleon and reportedly found him charming, so the artist decided to depict a man in great shape whose size rivaled that of any statue of an ancient Roman emperor. Although Napoleon was 33 and at the height of physique, by the time the statue was finished four years later, his condition had worsened, and he deemed the work "too athletic." Napoleon forbade its exhibition in the Louvre, and the British government bought it in 1816 for less than £3,000 ($5,000).