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Napoleon I - Jean Auguste Dominic Ingres. 259x162
Napoleon sits on the imperial throne in the traditional pose of the supreme god Jupiter, whose heraldic eagle is skillfully woven on the carpet. The emperor is dressed in all regalia and crowned with a laurel wreath, he holds a scepter, a rod of a judge (hand of justice) and the sword of Charlemagne. The figure of the emperor (1806) is static and has a portrait resemblance; contemporaries understood that Ingres likened the emperor to both Jupiter and the famous figure of God the Father from the Ghent Altar (c. 1432) Jan van Eyck, who was brought to Paris among military trophies.
It is not known whether Napoleon ordered this painting, or whether Ingres painted it in an attempt to gain official recognition, but when it was exhibited, everyone was critical of it. They said that the figure in the portrait was not quite similar to Napoleon, the style of painting was old-fashioned, and the image of an absolute ruler seemed inappropriate to those who wanted to see the emperor as a democrat and a favorite of the people. Ingres was deeply saddened by this misunderstanding.
NAPOLEON I. In 1799, after the French Revolution, Napoleon gained supreme power and established a military dictatorship. He ruled as emperor from 1804 to 1815. By 1810 he had conquered most of Europe, but after an unsuccessful campaign in Russia in 1812, his empire shook. In the battle of Waterloo on June 18, 1815, Napoleon was defeated, after which he was forced to abdicate and go into exile on the island of St. Helena.
Napoleon's insistent striving for success was reflected in the painting that he ordered, where the theme of asserting imperial power and his own power clearly prevailed. Jacques Louis David - the first painter of the Napoleonic court - created a series of paintings dedicated to the emperor: The Coronation of Napoleon (1805-1807), Napoleon presents the eagles (1810) and Napoleon in his office (1812), which combines elements of Italian Renaissance painting and the style of court artists who painted ceremonial portraits. Another painter who contributed to the creation of the Napoleonic myth was Antoine Jean Gros (1771-1835), whose paintings often depict important events of Napoleon's military career. Bonaparte's visit to the plague hospital in Jaffa (1804) was a huge success as an example of the dramatic power of his work.