Saturday, March 5, 2011

Representation of Historical Figures: Napoleon Bonaparte

Jean-Léon Gérôme, Bonaparte Before the Sphinx, 1868
Bonaparte was an influential figure in the history of mankind in terms of his military actions, tactics and his way of ruling as an Emperor. He caused quite a trouble especially in Europe for fifteen years or so as he ruled his own French Empire with his famous Grand Army.

Jacques-Louis David, Napoleon Crossing the Alps, 1800
One of the most famous paintings of Napoleon as a Romantic hero, his image as a rising power, a propaganda masterpiece. This work represents Napoleon as a man in the same legendary level with the conquerors of antiquity such as Roman Emperor Hannibal and Carolus Magnus, whose name are carved into the stones under him.There are five versions.

The Coronation of Napoleon, Jacques Louis David, 1807
The painting is extremely big as it is ten metres wide and six metres tall depicting new Empire's grandness. The crowning and the coronation took place at Notre-Dame de Paris and among the crowd, Ottoman ambassador Halet Efendi can be seen. The way the light is used puts Napoleon perfectly to the center of attention.

Napoleon I on his Imperial Throne, by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, 1806
This is the real deal in terms of depicting the continuity of ancient tradition. Portrayal of the great heroic/tyrant emperor with its all magnificence; with referances to him as the new heir of the concept of a European Empire; Roman Empire, through use of golden colour in everyting, staffs, a Roman Emperor crown made of gold.

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