BIDAULD Jean Joseph Xavier ; VERNET Carle (BIDAULD Jean Joseph Xavier (Carpentras, 1758 ; Montmorency, 1846))
Départ de Napoléon Ier et de Marie-Louise pour la chasse au château de Compiègne
toile (peinture à l’huile) H. 210 cm ; l. 98 cm
legs Marmottan Paul (testateur) (1932 acquis)
Napoleon I acquired his keen taste for hunting in 1809 and the activity featured prominently in the life of the imperial palaces. In early 1810 he reformed the Civil List and ordered the acquisition of new forests with a view to extending his hunting estates. At the same time, he expedited the restoration and furnishing of hunting châteaux such as Rambouillet, Trianon, and Compiègne, in order to increase his range of options for this activity. The scene here is set in Compiègne: the château façade and terrace can be seen on the left of the composition. In a calèche drawn by four horses, the empress Marie-Louise, accompanied by a lady-in-waiting, is leaving the château. Before her rides the emperor, wearing hunting costume, surrounded by three other participants, including Marshal Ney. It is important to note Vernet’s predilection for painting horses, which he treats here with as much care as his human figures. The way he renders their majestic form and the power of their muscles is utterly different from anything that went before, and clear evidence that he had studied these noble animals very carefully indeed.