The Coronation of Napoleon

The Coronation of Napoleon by Jacques Louis David

The Coronation of Napoleon by Jacques Louis David was produced in 1807 and is considered to be one of the famous artworks of Neo Classicism movement. The work can be viewed now at The Louvre, Paris


Medium: Oil Painting 

Subject(s): feast, motherhood


The Coronation of Napoleon is an oil painting produced between 1805 and 1807 by French painter Jacques Louis David.

The official title of The Coronation of Napoleon was “ Consecration of the Emperor Napoleon I and Coronation of the Empress Josephine in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris”.

In this painting, Napoleon I was standing dressed similar to those of Roman emperors in coronation robes. There are also others several spectators present. Josephine de Beauharnais was kneeling according to the French Civil Code in a submissive position. She received the crown from her husband and not the pope. Maria Letizia Ramolino was mother to Napoleon, the painter gives her a suitable position in the stands occupies a place more important than the pope. Louis Bonaparte married the daughter of Josephine namely Hortense de Beauharnais who received the title of grand constable. Joseph Bonaparte did not attend as he was not invited because of an argument with Napoleon.

The Coronation of Napoleon depicts the coronation of Napoleon I at Notre-Dame de Paris by the official painter of Napoleon, Jacques Louis David. The work was commissioned by Napoleon in September 1804 and David started working on the picture on 21 December 1805 in the former chapel of the College of Cluny which served as a workshop near the Sorbonne. Georges Rouget who was assistant student to David put the finishing touches in January 1808. The work was exhibited at the Salon annual painting display from 7 February to 21 March 1808 and it was presented to the decennial prize competition.

Until 1819, the painting remained the property of David after that it was then transferred to the Royal Museums till 1837 where it was stored in the reserves. King Louis-Philippe ordered to install the painting in the Chamber Sacre of the museum. It is regarded as of the historical Palace in Versailles. In 1889, the painting was then transferred to the Louvre from Versailles and remained in Louvre till date.

The work can be viewed at Louvre in Paris.


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