Bonaparte au pont d’Arcole (1796-1797)

Gros, Antoine-Jean (1771-1835)

Bonaparte au pont d’Arcole (Bonaparte on the Bridge at Arcole)
late 1796-early 1797
Oil on canvas, 134 x 104 cm
Hermitage MuseumSaint Petersburg

This painting, combining a battle scene with a formal portrait, was based on the artist’s personal impressions -he accompanied Bonaparte on the Italian campaign and was an eyewitness of all that happened. Gros embodied in the image of Napoleon the ideal of a strong, wilful individual typical of neoclassical art. The figure strains forward, face cold and calm, with a tense gaze emphasizing the hero’s decisiveness and bravery. At the same time Gros‘s painting is suffused with a mood which foreshadows the Romantic era, reflected in the dynamic colour and light-and-shade contrasts and the temperamental painterly manner. (SHM)

The painting was commissioned by Joséphine de Beauharnais (1763-1814), who accompanied Napoleon in his Italian campaign; it was painted in Naples in 17961797.

See also:

Arcole (Italia) | Beauharnais, Joséphine de (1763-1814) | Napoléon I (1769-1821)