Napoleon Crossing the Alps (Second Versailles Version)

696 Words Feb 20th, 2018 3 Pages
This painting features Napoleon Bonaparte on a horse during his journey through the Alps that he and his army completed in May of 1800. While the painting is based off of an extremely important historical event, Jacques Louis David also used photographic and artistic elements to further depict Napoleon as he crossed the Alps. The artistic elements that Jacques Louis David uses in this piece add extreme detail to the simple painting. The complex shadowing shown in the painting play a critical part in the viewer’s perspective of Napoleon. The shadows cast darkness in multiple places, darkening the background, making the back of Napoleon and his horse even darker. This detail causes Napoleon and his horse to stand out against the dark, grey backdrop. Additionally, the horse’s light-colored mane and Napoleon's red cape create a contrast against the sky, drawing the viewer’s eye to them. The depth of field in the photo is another photographic element used in this painting. Although there is a wide depth of field since nothing is very blurred, Napoleon and the horse are sharper than the other elements of the background, for example the cliff, the mountains, and the troop. The depth of field shows that Napoleon and his horse are the main subjects of the painting since they are both closer to viewer, and they are clearer than…
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