Imperial Eagle in bronze
Hand patinated bronze reproduction. Mold made from a print of the original work.
Associated since antiquity with military victories, the bird of Jupiter leaning on the lightning becomes the emblem of the First Empire after having been the one of imperial Rome. Like the signs of the Roman armies, Napoleon had an eagle, a traditional symbol of heraldry, placed at the top of the flagpole of his regiments.
Designed by the sculptor Chaudet in 1804, its realization in gilded bronze had been entrusted to the famous bronzier Thomire. The distribution of the flags surmounted by these eagles took place solemnly at Champ-de-Mars a few days after the Rite, a ceremony during which the new Emperor swore in his army.
In 1811 and in order to reduce the weight considered excessive, it was decided that instead of being full, the eagles would be hollow and made by assembling two welded plates. Melted for the most part at the end of the Empire or broken to avoid being returned, they will be modestly restored in gilded wood during the Hundred Days period, period between Napoleon I's return from Elba Island and his second abdication four days after Waterloo, from March 20 to July 8, 1815.