This imposing, awe-inspiring oil-painted masterpiece is one of the largest and proudest possessions of Louvre Museum, Paris. Completed in 1807 by Jacques-Louis David, the artist was commissioned by Napoleon himself.
While tourists make a beeline, rather a beehive, for the enigmatic Mona Lisa, to me it was this massive painting that took my breath away. Its sheer size – 33 feet wide and 20 feet tall – will leave you gobsmacked and glued, wanting to savor the minutest detail of it. The vividity of colors, clothing, fabric, crowns, people and their expressions, even the background are all noteworthy.
The thing I need to point out here is that, suggestive it might be, but, it isn’t the kneeling person that’s Napoleon. She’s Joséphine, his wife. She received the crown from the hands of her husband as per the French Civil Code.
Nor is the one sitting on the throne that’s Napoleon. He’s Pope Pius VII, who blessed the coronation involuntarily under the pressure of the mighty emperor.
NAPOLEON BONAPARTE is the one standing, holding the crown, dressed in coronation robes similar to those of Roman emperors. Others are merely passive spectators.
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