(b. 1748, Paris, d. 1825, Bruxelles)
Portrait of General Bonaparte1797
Oil on canvas, 81 x 65 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris
David first met Napoleon in Paris on 10 December 1797, at one of the public receptions given to honour the victorious general. It was during the course of the dinner that David asked to paint Napoleon's portrait, a request that was soon granted. Napoleon came to David's studio in the Louvre, granting him only a single sitting of three hours, during which he was fidgety, impatient and eager to leave. From this sitting David only managed to paint the head and collar he still managed to capture the confidence and vitality of the nation's hero.
The painting remained unfinished.