Jacques-Louis David's celebrated 19th-century portrait of Napoleon on horseback will be shown alongside Kehinde Wiley's dramatic homage to the painting for the first time this autumn. Both works go on display at Château de Malmaison in western Paris, formerly Napoleon Bonaparte's private estate, and will travel to the Brooklyn Museum in New York in January 2020.
‘First Consul, crossing the Alps at Great St. Bernard Pass' is a monumental portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte by Jacques-Louis David, commissioned by the King of Spain, Charles IV, in 1800. The portrait depicts Napoleon's victory over Austrian forces in June 1800 at the Battle of Marengo in Piedmont; a triumph that reinforced the Emperor's grip on power across his European empire. In his 2005 interpretation of the painting, ‘Napoleon leading the Army over the Alps', Kehinde Wiley has replaced the figure of Napoleon with a black man wearing a bandana and Timberland boots. The work, which is owned by the Brooklyn Museum, belongs to a series of portraits inspired by the tradition of equestrian portraiture, ‘Rumors of War'.
9 October 2019–10 May 2020