Jacques-Louis David (French, 1748-1825)

Napolean Bonaparte
Crossing the Alps
by the Great Saint Bernard Pass- 1800
Oil on Canvas
260 x 221 cm (87 x 102 3/8 in)
Musée National du Chateau de Malmaison

David and his assistants painted five versions of this famous portrait. this one was the first. King Charles IV of Spain ordered it in 1800 for the Royal Palace in Madrid and David painted it in four months. Having become King of Spain, Joseph Bonaparte took the painting with him when he was forced to leave Madrid. This picture hung in his house in Point Breeze near Philadelphia for many years until it was returned to Europe. David chose to romanticize the event by changing the sure-footed mule on which Bonaparte crossed the alps into a dashing charger. the hero is depicted in the uniform he wore at the Battle of Marengo. David painted the uniform accurately because he had it brought to his studio.

Other Work By the Artist:
of Napolean
Self PortraitDeath of Marat NapoleanDeath of

Links to the Artist:
Smithsonian Article - 1998
Web Museum - Jacques Louis David
Carlyle CJFA - Jacques Louis David
The Archive - Jacques Louis David
OCAIW - Jacques Louis David

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