DAVID, Jacques-Louis
(b. 1748, Paris, d. 1825, Bruxelles)

Consecration of the Emperor Napoleon I (detail)

1805-07
Oil on canvas
Musée du Louvre, Paris

David planned to show the Pope watching the event with his hands on his knees, but Napoleon intervened and in his usual forthright manner exclaimed: 'I didn't have him come all that way to do nothing.' Therefore, in the final work the Pope gives a blessing with his mitre at his feet and with his magnificent papal tiara, a gift from Napoleon, placed on the altar behind him.