Napoleon is shown holding the imperial crown made for his coronation in 1804.  He has already placed the laurel crown of the Roman emperors on his head.  Afterward he briefly placed the imperial crown on his head, then touched it to the head of his empress, Josephine.

  Pope Pius VII, brought from Rome for the occasion, anointed Napoleon but was not allowed to crown him.  Napoleon was aware of  the significance of the coronation of Charlemagne and the controversy surrounding it.  He was determined that there be no inference that his authority was granted by the pope, but rather was his in his own right.