Description of the painting by Jacques Louis David “The Coronation of Napoleon and Empress Josephine”

Description of the painting by Jacques Louis David “The Coronation of Napoleon and Empress Josephine”

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The artist worked on the painting for about two years and created a huge canvas. The painter depicted about 150 characters. Each image is realistic and executed with accuracy, the master wrote all the characters from real people.

The artist had long wanted to create a canvas using the theme of coronation and, after implementing this process, set to work. The customer was Napoleon himself.

The artist portrayed Josephine and Napoleon. Papa, who is also present in the picture, blessed the coronation. The rod holds the treasurer, it is a symbol of government. Near the Pope there is a cardinal who was not present at all during the event, due to illness.

The artist fully depicted the entire rite, completing the missing characters on his own. In the left corner of the canvas are all close relatives of the emperor. Here are his brothers and sisters, as well as the stepdaughter who holds the hand of a son named after the emperor.

The ladies are holding the mantle. Napoleon's mother is seated on a throne in the background. She is surrounded by courtiers, but she was not present at the coronation at all. Perhaps this was the emperor’s wish to reflect the presence of his mother, because he was very kind to her. The painting also depicts the painter himself with his student.

Despite the realism of this plot, the artist still drew up several characters. Perhaps this work is the embodiment of the wishes of Napoleon himself. Indeed, for a long time, many significant persons in the state opposed the coronation of Josephine, and even the empress was not perceived even after the coronation.

The canvas was a fantastic success. After the overthrow of Napoleon, the picture was stored for a long time in reserves and was not exhibited. Today, the canvas continues to cause delight, and the accuracy of the painter amazes historians. This picture is a kind of historical chronicle.

Mstislav Dobuzhinsky

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