Napoleon in His Study (1812) by Jacques-Louis David

Napoleon in His Study - Jacques-Louis David - 1812

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Artwork Information

TitleNapoleon in His Study
ArtistJacques-Louis David
Date1812
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions205 x 128 cm
Art MovementNeoclassicism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About Napoleon in His Study

The artwork “Napoleon in His Study” is an oil on canvas painting by the esteemed artist Jacques-Louis David, created in the year 1812. It illustrates the Neoclassicism art movement with its vivid detail and classical references. The portrait measures 205 by 128 centimeters and showcases Napoleon Bonaparte. As a work of historical portraiture, it is currently held in a private collection.

Within the artwork, Napoleon Bonaparte is depicted in a stately pose standing in his study. He is garbed in a military uniform, highlighting his status as both a statesman and a commander. The uniform is predominantly white, adorned with the regal blue sash of the L├ęgion d’Honneur and decorated with rich, golden epaulettes. His left hand is tucked into his vest, a gesture often associated with confidence and leadership, while his right hand holds a quill, implying his engagement with administrative duties.

The background of the artwork features subdued, but well-constructed elements indicative of a neoclassical style. There is an elegant clock on the wall, suggestive of the importance of time and perhaps a reference to Napoleon’s punctuality or the timely nature of his decisions. A desk and chair richly inlaid with gold motifs and initials “N” denoting his name, further assert his power and position. On the desk, documents, a candlestick, and books signify the intellectual and governmental aspects of his role.

The scene is constructed with a disciplined attention to detail and a reserved palette, characteristic of David’s neoclassical approach. Elegantly blending symbolism with realism, the portrait of Napoleon is an exemplar of Jacques-Louis David’s masterful ability to imbue his subjects with both grandeur and a sense of intimate humanity.

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