Bibliothèque Nationale de France

Pen in hand, the “remarkably ugly” yet irrepressible Dominique Vivant Denon is affectionately portrayed in this 1810 engraving by his friend and colleague Benjamin Zix. In an imaginary room of the Musée Napoleon (today’s Louvre), the artist is surrounded by a statue of Diana, copies of his immensely popular Voyage dans la Basse et la Haute Égypte, a bust of the emperor, an Egyptian obelisk and a monumental elephant that was to have been erected near the Bastille.