Jacques-Louis David

Jacques-Louis David was a painter in the 19th century who was considered to be one of the founding fathers of the Neoclassical movement, where he would begin to venture away from the previous and more popular Rococo style at the time. Born in 1748 in Paris, France, he became very well known for his unique style of history painting during the Rococo period.

In one of his pieces of Napoleon Bonaparte he depicts him sitting securely on a horse while in uniform striding down a snow covered mountainside appearing like a hero and leader of the army that he was.  Napoleon is wearing a large red cape that is fluttering in the wind, while one of his hand grips the reins of the horse, while the other is pointing straight up to the sky.  If you look a little further into the background under the horse, you can see a much more bleak and depressing landscape of the common foot soldiers pushing the equipment up the treacherous landscape, while Napoleon appears to be safe on his horse.

This painting is Napoleon and his army crossing the Alps into Italy in the pursuit of various military victories that were won by Napoleon’s forces.  This painting is done in an extremely idealized manner, as the scene appears to be much more peaceful than how it would actually be in this circumstance.  In this image Napoleon show’s his dominance by how he’s not having to do any of the hard work, while his soldiers in the background are grueling to carry all the equipment because they were prepared so inadequately, in where most of this stuff was meant to be carried by a horse or mule.  This piece is important because Jacques was commissioned to make this piece for Napoleon and show him in a glorified way as a ruthless dictator and conqueror.


Napoleon Revolution. http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/napoleon/art-and-design/A-Closer-Look-Jacques-Louis-David.html (Accessed April 25th, 2017)



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