David d'Angers made over 500 medallions of famous personalities, which now form a unique collection, a document illustrating history from the end of the reign of Louis XVI to the beginning of the Second Empire.
The imperial family brought cameos and intaglios back into fashion, and these portraits provide an invaluable and precise iconography.
Josephine is depicted in profile, the favourite position of the sculptor : "I have always been deeply moved by a profile. The frontal view looks at you. The profile is in relation to others, it will elude you, it does not even see you".