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This is the definitive compositional sketch for Prud'hon's painting of
1805, now at the Louvre, that depicts Empress Joséphine seated on some
rocks in the gardens of Malmaison. In the painting, however, Prud'hon
altered the format from horizontal to vertical, giving greater emphasis
to the trees already lightly indicated in the drawing. He also
eliminated the lyre from the painting (in the drawing it can be seen at
the right) and added an elegant red stole. Delacroix commented on the
air of grave beauty and nobility, tinged with melancholy, inherent in
the work, which he believed to be one of Prud'hon's masterpieces.

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