Napoleon Crossing the Alps: Historical Meaning Behind the Portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte

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Napoleon crossing the Alps is also is the title given to the five versions of oil on canvas equestrian portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte painted by the French artist Jacques-Louis David between 1801 and 1805. Initially commissioned by the Spanish Ambassador to France, the composition shows a strongly idealized view of the real crossing that Napoleon and his army made across the Alps through the Great St. Bernard Pass in May 1800. Napoleon comes across to me as a leader in many different of ways. Jacques- Louis David is the creator of this painting. He has put certain devices and effects in his work to help the viewers come to a certain opinion and have a certain type of an impression of Napoleon. This was after Napoleon had took his army a…show more content…
Another artist had actually created this picture with Napoleon being on a mule to make him seem lower then David tried to make him out to be. Napoleon came across to me as a leader because of several different things. The main thing was him being on a horse and not a mule. His clothes were very crisp and clean just like a king or leaders would have been. Also his one hand on the reins represents him being in control. Napoleon appears extremely calm and his horse seems to have terror written all over his face. The horse represents the country and he represents the leader of the country. His calm look reinsures the people of the country that everything will be ok and he has everything under control. Another big part of this picture is the wind. David has the wind blowing extremely hard towards the way Napoleon is trying to go towards. You can tell that the wind is very strong by looking at the horse’s main and tail. Also Napoleons cape and side burns are also blowing in the same direction as the wind is. You can tell which way he is going because Napoleon is pointing with his hand. The artist made the wind go in the same direction that he was traveling towards to show that god was working with him on his journey and not against him. There is a rock in the bottom left corner of the painting. This rock means a lot more then just a normal rock. This rock has names on it of people who have crossed the Alps. Some of the names that are

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