Saturday, January 26, 2013
As Napoleon’s position rose from First Consul to that of Emperor, he demanded art that legitimised his power and glorified the Empire. He commissioned many images of himself as statesman, tireless administrator, military genius and semi-divine monarch. Napoleon’s deeds were turned into the stuff of heroic legend: leading conquering armies across the mountains, and visiting the wounded or plague-stricken. Many portraits immortalised both Napoleon and his extended family. In this image Goubaud shows Napoleon clad in symbols of power. He is dressed in an imperial mantle atop a globe, crowned with a laurel wreath and holding a sceptre topped with the Hand of Justice, the dark clouds of destiny swirling around him.