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Elisa Bonaparte

Maria Anna Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi Levoy (French: Marie Anne Elisa Bonaparte; 3 January 1777 - 7 August 1820), better known as Elisa Bonaparte, was an imperial French princess and sister of Napoleon Bonaparte. She was Princess of Lucca and Piombino (1805-1814), Grand Duchess of Tuscany (1809-1814) and Countess of Compignano by appointment of her brother.

She was the fourth surviving child and eldest surviving daughter of Carlo Buonaparte and Letizia Ramolino. A younger sister of Napoleon Bonaparte, she had elder brothers Joseph and Lucien, and younger siblings Louis, Pauline, Caroline and Jerome.

As Princess of Lucca and Piombino, then Grand Duchess of Tuscany, she became Napoleon's only sister to possess political power. Their relations were sometimes strained due to her sharp tongue. Highly interested in the arts, particularly the theatre, she encouraged them in the territories over which she ruled.

Early life Élisa was born in Ajaccio, Corsica. She was christened Maria-Anna, but later officially adopted the nickname "Élisa" (her brother Lucien, to whom she was very close in childhood, nicknamed her Elisa). In June 1784, a bursary allowed her to attend the Maison royale de Saint-Louis at Saint-Cyr, where she was frequently visited by her brother Napoleon. Following the French Revolution, the Legislative Assembly decreed the Maison's closure on 16 August 1792 as it shut down institutions associated with the aristocracy. Élisa left on 1 September with Napoleon to return to Ajaccio.

Around 1795, the Bonaparte family relocated to Marseille. There Élisa got to know Felice Pasquale Baciocchi (who later adopted the surname Levoy). A Corsican nobleman and formerly a captain in the Royal Corse, he had been dismissed from his rank with the outbreak of the French Revolution.

Oil on canvas
217.0 x 142.0cm
Image and text courtesy of Wikipedia, 2023

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Château de Fontainebleau
Permanent collection