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Consecration of the Emperor Napoleon I and Coronation of the Empress Josephine 1805-07

Jacques Louis David’s Consecration of the Emperor Napoleon I and Coronation of the Empress Josephine, painted between 1805-07 is an immense reproduction of the scene of Napoleon’s infamous self-coronation as Emperor. Commissioned by the man himself, David was secured a front row seat for the event in the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Utilizing a great number of sources and documents to perfectly capture the scene, David worked from blueprints of the cathedral and asked each of the participants to pose in his studio individually, all except from the impatient Napoleon. Even the Pope, Pius VII, sat for the painting. Though choosing not to sit for the painter, Napoleon did come to visit the artist as he was working and congratulated him on his efforts, despite asking him to alter a few elements of the work. David’s huge achievement is now one of the centrepieces of the Louvre’s collection. He managed to capture the scene with his signature blend of realism and bombast, using a remarkably vivid spectrum of colors to depict to rich textures and shades of the event. The artist, however, took a number of liberties, shrinking the height and grandeur of Notre-Dame, and ensuring all eyes are turned towards the crown.

The 1804 coronation ceremony of Napoleon was held to ensure that the new Emperor traced a lineage of pomp and ritual through the monarchic and Catholic traditions. The event also acknowledged his self-professed lineage from Charlemagne, who himself was crowned emperor by a pope. Yet, in spite of Pius VII’s presence, the enigmatic Napoleon snatched the crown from the Pope’s hands at the last moment and reportedly crowned himself, thus signalling himself as the highest authority on earth and marking his feelings about the Church. David’s first sketch of the event purported to show this gesture of self-crowning, yet the final version eventually came to depict a less ominous image.

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Consecration of the Emperor Napoleon I in The Louvre

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Consecration of the Emperor Napoleon I and Coronation of the Empress Josephine 1805-07 Jacques Louis David

Item Number: 6736581 show sizes in cm
Painting Price: $32,307.99
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