Napoleon I on his Imperial Throne by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

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Napoleon I on his Imperial Throne by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

Painting NameNapoleon I on his Imperial Throne
Painter NameJean Auguste Dominique Ingres
Completion Date1806
Place of CreationFrance
Size259 cm × 162 cm (102 in × 64 in)
Current LocationMusée de l'Armée Hôtel des Invalides Paris

The full length portrait is of Napoleon Bornaparte I sitting on his imperial Throne. Ingres, the artist is also French. They were contemporary to each other and Ingres got the chance to depict Napoleon in person in the year of 1806 when the painting was finished. Napoleon’s reign lasted from 1804 to 1814 and this portrait was made after a year of the coronation.

Napoleon I on his Imperial Throne Analysis

The painting portrays Napoleon in grand manner. He is sitting with confident, impressive style. He is wearing the tradition coronation costume. His right hand holds the sceptre of Charlemagne and the near the left hand is put a sceptre of hand of justice. There is a sword put beneath his left hand Red, white and golden clothing is made out of royal silk, fur and gold-threads. The throne has a round back and on both side are the ivory balls on golden pillars. His feet are put on a pillow. On the left side of the pillow, the red and black designs are the zodiac signs. On the left side of the ground are the inscription of the painter “Ingres. P”. On the right, is the date of the creation “Anno. 1806.”

Conqueror of the world

History might have changed or distorted the image of Napoleon over the two centuries, but during the time when Ingres took the job to paint the king of France himself, he wasn’t going to leave any flaw in his execution in attempt to please the king and also mark his ability in pages of history.

Ingres has kept every little detail which can portray napoleon as a remarkable king. From the contemporary clothing with golden threads to the buoyant outlook of Napoleon which he inherited while his expedition to win the world.

The painting kind of foreshadows the grandeur Napoleon was going to acquire in his next ten years old reign.

The distinguishing factor of the portrait, than the other portraits, is Napoleon’s majestic style of sitting, royal attire and most important, the firm facial expressions. The focused eyes relays Napoleon’s clear views and solved mind about his enthronement and his intentions with the power he has acquired. We can safely assert that Ingres has achieved to imitate the Leonardo da Vinci’s technique of Moti Mentali in which apart from the facial features, the portrait also paints the subject’s concurrent disposition or temperament.


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