Artist: Jacques-Louis David
Dimensions (cm): Oil on canvas
Format: Color Woodblock
Location: Palace of Versailles
Napoleon Crossing the Alps is any of five versions of Bonaparte’s equestrian portrait painted by Jacques-Louis David between 1801 and 1805. Initially commissioned by the King of Spain for a diplomatic gift exchange, Bonaparte later instructed David to produce more versions for his personal collection.
The composition signals the dawning of a new century and shows an idealized view (as propaganda) of Napoleon’s crossing of the Alps, which was actually made in fine weather and mounted on a mule. This symbol of Napoleon’s authority, represented by his calming posture on the horse is portrayed in our piece through repetition, creating a beautiful and ironic pattern. This specific version hangs in Versailles for everyone to admire.
- Large: L: 41-46 UK (7½-11½) US (8-12)
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