FRANQUE Joseph (Buis-les-Baronnies, 1774 ; 1833)
Napoléon Bonaparte, Premier Consul
1799 entre ; 1804 et
toile (peinture à l’huile) H. 65 cm ; l. 53 cm
legs Marmottan Paul (testateur) (1932 acquis)
The coup d’état of 18 Brumaire (November 9, 1799) brought the Directory period to an end and ushered in the Consulate, which would last until 1804. At the head of this new regime, three consuls were chosen: Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès, Roger Ducos, and Napoleon Bonaparte. It was not long before Napoleon, who was made consul for life in 1802, had taken full powers. This portrait by Joseph Franque, a former student of Jacques Louis David, was in the collection of the heirs of the oldest Bonaparte sister, Princess Élisa Baciocchi. Since it proved impossible to have the subject sit for him, the artist reproduced almost identically the pose in the canvases attributed to Anne Louis Girodet-Trioson (Rueil-Malmaison, Musée des Châteaux de Malmaison et Bois- Préau) and to Charles Meynier (Brussels, Musée de la Ville). Bonaparte is shown at bust height, his face in half-profile, and wears the red velvet coat that goes with his new status. Concerned that even his dress should represent his function, the young consul helped set a new fashion whose stricter line recalled the military world where he had made his reputation.