Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of Emperor Napoleon I 1769 - 1821 1800c

Jean Baptiste Jacques Augustin (1759-1832)

Portrait of Emperor Napoleon I 1769 - 1821, Jean Baptiste Jacques Augustin
Oil on canvas
4 x 3 inches 9.9 x 7.8 cms
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Augustin, one of the greatest miniaturists of the French School, was born at St.Die (Vosges) in 1759 and went to Paris in 1781. There he struggled to regenerate the almost forgotten art of miniature painting in enamel, that had been practised by Petitot. In 1819 he was appointed miniature painter to the King and in 1821 was granted with the title of Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur.

His portraits of Napoleon are amongst his finest and most exceptional in quality, for their purity of design and richness of colour. He exhibited regularly at the Salon between 1791-1831 and had by 1796 established his own school.

This image of Naploeon relates to a sitting of 1805 from which Gerard produced the famous official full-length oil painting of the Emperor, standing in front of his throne. It became Napoleon''s favourite Imperial image and one which he disseminated throughout his Empire. Augustin produced a number of versions for presentation to relations, allies and courtiers of which this miniature, in its ormolu frame, is a superb example.
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