Emperor Napoleon, 2nd December 1804

A woman who was made to look younger for those who would see her, a man whose egotistical nature was clear in the way he stood, a grouping that was doctored to make certain parts highlighted and everyone somewhat nobler than they were – this almost sounds like Photo-shopping for Facebook!
 
But Jacques Louis David painted his subjects in 1806, long before our times. For his painting of the coronation of Napoleon on 2nd December, 1804, David drew from memory and props he placed in his studio.
 
Josephine was forty one and had re-married the thirty five year old Napoleon just the previous day in a religious ceremony. He was too proud to allow the Pope to crown either him or Josephine and turned to face his subjects rather than the altar behind him to indicate his distance from the church. Although David had initially painted the emperor crowning himself, the final version showed him as a knight of France crowning his empress. Faces of family and friends were softened and highlighted. The disapproving looks on Napoleon’s mother’s face alone as she looked upon the colonial upstart Josephine must have been something to behold…..:)
jacques-louis-david-the-consecration-of-the-emperor-napoleon-and-the-coronation-of-empress-josephine-on-december-2-1804-1806-07
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