Shop art print and framed art Napoléon Ier sur le trône impérial ou Sa majesté l'empereur des Français sur son trône by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

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Subjects : History, Portrait
Keywords : Napoleon, crown, emperor, ornament, portrait, rug, sitting, sovereign, throne
The artwork

Napoléon Ier sur le trône impérial ou Sa majesté l'empereur des Français sur son trône

Napoléon Ier sur le trône impérial : une représentation majestueuse par Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

The story behind the painting Napoléon Ier sur le trône impérial

Painted in 1806, this work by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres represents a milestone in his artistic career. He was commissioned by the French government to immortalize the image of Napoleon I after he proclaimed himself emperor in 1804. This imperial propaganda painting was intended to represent Napoleon's authority and power as Emperor of the French, and help establish his legitimacy.

To achieve this, Ingres adopted a style that broke with the conventions of classical portraiture, notably by setting the subject against a dark, almost abstract background that emphasized his overwhelming presence. The result is a bold and original work that demonstrates not only Ingres' talent as a painter, but also his ability to innovate and adapt to the demands of his time.

Visual characteristics of the portrait

The image of Napoleon on the imperial throne is immediately striking for its rich detail and the abundance of decorative elements surrounding the sovereign. This reproduction frames a detail of this monumental painting.

Napoleon is dressed in a richly embroidered imperial costume, adorned with symbols recalling the great figures of French history, such as Charlemagne and Louis XIV. On the emperor's head rests a golden laurel wreath, an attribute associated with both Caesar and Napoleon Bonaparte himself as an accomplished military conqueror.The lace of his coleterette, the ermine fur and the abundant gold halo his face, which seems to radiate in the midst of all this wealth. With resolute, hieratic features, the Emperor is depicted like a religious icon, imperturbable and unchanging.

The role of this work in Ingres' artistic career

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres is considered one of the great French painters of the 19th century, and is particularly renowned for his talents as a portraitist. The artist enjoyed immense critical and commercial success, with a large output of portraits painted for the bourgeois classes and wealthy merchants.

A style typical of academic paintings

In order to meet official commissions and public expectations, Ingres' portraits were often marked by an idealism and formal precision inspired by the models of classical art. As a result, he was considered the leader of the French neoclassical movement. His contemporaries, such as Théodore Géricault or Eugène Delacroix, on the other hand, opted for a Romantic style characterized by a wider chromatic range and dramatic treatment of subjects.

First portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte produced : "Bonaparte Premier Consul"

Before "Napoléon Ier sur le trône impérial", Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres had already painted the face of the future emperor with "Bonaparte, Premier Consul", produced in 1804. This work marks one of his first major commissions and testifies to his loyalty to the Napoleonic regime.

The painting "Napoléon Ier sur le trône impérial" thus occupies a central place in Ingres' career. It combines both his talent for painting precise and detailed portraits, as well as his ambition to assert himself as an avant-garde and innovative artist.

Ingres thus contributes to forging the image of Napoleon Bonaparte not only as emperor, but also as man and as myth.


This artwork is a painting from the classical period. It belongs to the neoclassicism style.


« Napoléon Ier sur le trône impérial ou Sa majesté l'empereur des Français sur son trône » is kept at Musée de l'Armée, Paris, France.


Find the full description of Napoléon Ier sur le trône impérial ou Sa majesté l'empereur des Français sur son trône by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres on Wikipedia.

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Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

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