Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David
Jacques-Louis David, The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries, 1812, National Gallery of Art, Samuel H. Kress Collection

Napoleon Bonaparte was the emperor of France in the early 1800s. Even though photography had not been invented yet, we know how Napoleon looked because many paintings and drawings of the emperor have survived. You may be familiar with this well-known image, which was painted in 1812 by Napoleon's favorite artist, Jacques-Louis David. (PRONOUNCED ZHOCK LU-WEE DAH_VEED)

When you first see a large portrait like this, it's a good idea to take a CLOSE LOOK and examine all the details. Look carefully for a few minutes. There are clues in the painting that can tell us a great deal about Napoleon and his times.


Copyright © National Gallery of Art