The Coronation of Napoleon is a famous painting completed by Jacques Louis David in 1807. It was commissioned by Napoleon in September 1804 to show political and symbolic purpose. Jacques Louis David started work on it in 1805 and took two years to finish it. Its official title is Consecration of the Emperor Napoleon I and Coronation of the Empress Josephine in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris on 2 December 1804.
The history painting is huge and imposing, with ten meters wide and about six meters tall. There are over 150 characters in the painting, royal family, ministers, generals, officials, big shops, and ambassadors, all vividly showed. All of the eyes are gathered to the center of the painting, where stands Napoleon, holding a crown in his hands, who is about to crown his Empress. Empress Josephine is kneeling below the stairs before Napoleon. She is going to receive the crown from his husband, rather than the pope. Napoleon and his wife dress in exquisite red robe with silk, demonstrating their great glory. The pope, who is supposed to crown the emperor, is sitting in the back.
On the ages when camera has not been invented, Jacques Louis David used his skillful painting technique vividly reshow the splendor coronation to the rest of us. This Coronation of Napoleon is a great realism work, though David combined accuracy with artistry treatment. David initially painted the scene Napoleon crowned himself, as he really did in the history. However, conventionally, it’s pope’s power to crown for emperor. For fear of being regarded to contempt the pope, David made the final painting to show Napoleon crowning the Empress. Under David’s polish Napoleon’s and Josephine’s images are beautified, being taller and slimmer. He also painted Napoleon’s mother in the painting, sitting on an important place on the second floor. However, in the history, she was absent in the ceremony. She refused to attend out of rage for the friction of Napoleon with his brothers.