Portraits Of Napoleon

Read Complete Research Material

Portraits of Napoleon

Portraits of Napoleon


Between 1789 and 1814 the artists are in a position facing a new political system unstable and changing elite. Indeed, with the fall of the monarchy, the academic system is challenged and artists to produce more centralized power (Tulard, 2005). Their survival depends on their adaptation to the story. Albert Boime goes on to say that their existence is conditioned by history .This commitment is sometimes forced to pay a high price by artists who, at every change of regime or dominant political trend, see their artistic careers affected (Hubert & Ledoux-Lebard, 2001).

When the public career of Bonaparte begins, on the artistic production develops. Artists accompany their brushes almost every treaty, every battle, permanently recording and easily understood by a wide audience the official history of the Napoleonic era. The artists therefore have a key role in spreading the myth of Bonaparte (Bordes, 2005).


The portraits have a special role in this gallery Napoleonic because they reveal that the public image is shaped Bonaparte. Like Richelieu and Louis XIV, Napoleon is a forger image (Tulard, 2005). He chose carefully and accurately costumes, poses, and her appearance in general and its environment to create the image to fit his political projects (Hubert & Ledoux-Lebard, 2001). The main difference between Napoleon and his predecessors is that its image is changing. We can see in the portraits he commands his official artists, like David, Gros, Girodet, Ingres or Canova, the iconography and visual references change over the portraits, according to his political position and that to which he aspires (Bordes, 2005). Anchoring her first image of brave and Consul General to the needs of his people and the glory of the motherland, then visually associating with kings and emperors of the past, it becomes indisputable when Olympian god becomes emperor (Hubert & Ledoux-Lebard, 2001).

1796-99: The Young Military Hero

The first portraits of the young general are frequently tinged with romanticism and realism. It is usually represented in the uniform of the generals of the Republic. Representation of his features captures the details of his face: his thin face, his sunken eyes, high cheekbones, and his lips pursed and thin and long hair (Tulard, 2005). We find these features highlighting his youth and his determination in the most famous portraits in this period like the bust of Ceracchi, the allegorical portrait of Appiani or that achieved by Gros, as well as in the sketch of David and bust Corbet (Hubert & Ledoux-Lebard, 2001). The Italian campaign is covered by the press extensively at the request of Bonaparte. This allows him to capture the public's attention while creating an image of military hero. The portraits in this period have the same goal: popularize the young general, give him a heroic public image. The portrait of Gros, General Bonaparte at Arcole 17 November 1796, concentrates most of the iconography used by Bonaparte at this time (Bordes, 2005).

This mode of representation of the soldier is already well established and became popular in the eighteenth century ...
Related Ads