Napoleon's roles

In this gallery I will showing some paintings, sculptures, and photos of Napoleon. In these I will be discussing how his image was portrayed as a sort of idealistic general/king/emperor and how they all seem to fit together .

First I will talk about Napoleon shown as a General with some hints to his authority. In this first painting we can see Napoleon depicted in the field atop his horse possibly giving out commands to his troops as they move on to battle. As we look to his clothing he is dressed in normal French General attire with his very distinctive hat, medals, sash, riding boots and epaulettes. However, even though we can clearly see him in his General state there are distinct qualities to this piece that speak to his kingly authority. If we look to his saddle it is adorned with bright reds and golds that are usually symbolic of power. Also when people of royalty are depicted with animals it is usually something of strength. Here we see Napoleon's horse as a sign of strength and power with its flowing mane and tail.
Staying along with our theme as Napoleon as a General we see him here crossing the Alps. Again Napoleon is shown in his standard recognizable hat and uniform. However, in this painting, Napoleon is depicted with long, flowing red cape instead of his plain red sash in the previous painting. Also in this painting we see more gold adorned on his person rather than just under his posterior. Thus showing the people that he is royal and powerful. Also we see here again that he is riding his horse commanding his troops forward. In this painting however, there is more detail in the horses' musculature than in the previous. This shows us the strength of the horse that transfers over onto Napoleon himself.
Next is Napoleon shown as the king monarch to France. Once again Napoleon is showed decorated in his red and gold, but in this paiting it is not as subtle as the others. Here during his coronation we can see on his garments the lavish embroidery of the gold on his robes, the elegant use of white and the black dots that represent the tails of the ermines that had to be caught by the hundreds to piece together his garb which resembles raoyalty. Also we see here that his is holding up his own crown which usually when coronated the man of the church lays it upon his head. However, on his head we see the golden laurel wreath which was used in the Roman Empire for the Emperor.
In this painting we see Napoleon again at his coronation however, this one looks to be after the ceremony. Once again Napoleon is shown in the regal colors red, gold and white, but also his clothing is very plush, clean and elegant. Looking to his shoes, they would not be worn outside at all and most likely worn only in the palace, not the shoes of a commoner. In this painting though, Napoleon is holding an orb with the cross above it symbolizing that Christ reigns over the world and that he is the Defender of the Faith, again they do not just hand these out on the street. Next we see he is holding a scepter with an eagle on top. Again we see a very powerful and noble animal associated with royalty adorning him. However, in this painting we see Napoleon again with the laurel on, but the crown seems to be to the side letting people know he is higher than just a king.
Again we see Napoleon still in his king/emperor phase. He is still wearing his golden laurel wreath to show his empirical reign over France however, in this piece we see that he has a very exquisite collar and scarf around his neck that only people of nobility would wear in this time. Here we can see a closer look at his robes with the ermine fur that is only worn by royalty. Next we see an up close view of the jewels and necklace that he is wearing that would be very expensive. Another part that usually signals wealth and power is the how pale his face is. Usually it is thought that the lighter someone's skin is than the higher that person is in the social structure.
In this sculpture we see Napoleon as more of an Emperor than a king. Usually when someone sees a bust of a person their mind usually wanders back towards the Roman Empire. Further evidence to Napoleon as Emperor is the return of the laurel wreath around his head. Another show of Napoleon's power and nobility is the eagle that is carved underneath him. However, the eagle could also come from the use of the eagle in the Roman Empire that was usually seen atop poles with the Roman flag. This entire sculpture points directly to the fact that Napoleon has superseded his kingship and moved toward Emperor of France.
I included this piece because I thought that is a different side of Napoleon that most people do not usually see. In this piece we see Napoleon in a tropical area most likely either Elba of Saint Helena. Here again we see Napoleon dressed in his usual General's uniform with his hat. Though in this piece we see him as quite overweight whereas in most paintings of Napoleon he is shown to be very thin. A very satirical image of Napoleon.
Credits: All media
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