This military uniform, or popularly called the ‘Marengo uniform’, is presently a valuable piece of Paris’s Musée des Invalides (O’Brien 2006).
The saber held by Napoleon is also kept by the Invalides. The sabre and the uniform were specially asked for by Jacques-Louis David (Bietoletti 2009). This depiction of the successful Marengo general was in the collected works of the eldest brother of Napoleon, Joseph Bonaparte. When in 1814 the Empire collapsed, he transferred to the United States and his remarkable anthology was dispatched to New Jersey, where he lived (Bietoletti 2009).
Andrea Appiani was the official painter of Napoleon in Italy. He applauded the successes of the Emperor in a series of sheets in Milan’s Palazzo Reale (Cronin 1972). As the number of themes increased, his pictographic expression became more and more complicated. He employed strong chiaroscuro effects in the Caravaggio form (Cronin 1972). The King of Italy, in this wall painting, hailed by the Victories and by the Eagle, is enthroned by the Hours (Bordes 2007). This essay will analyze and discuss Appiani’s visual rendering of Napoleon in the context of history painting. If the coronation is a bird’s eye view of the intellectual mayhem of the Napoleonic cosmos, Appiani’s painting celebrating the enthronement looks like the expected preference with which to answer the major question of this essay: how to depict Napoleon in an artistic way, within the wide-ranging terms of the political representation disorder?
Appiani tested a variety of answers to the abovementioned question, in a planned fulfillment of the demands of his new master. For instance, Napoleon disliked all of the answers, discarding entirely, another of Appiani’s regal works of art (Bordes 2007). The reactions of Napoleon, interpreted as aesthetic opinions (O’Brien 2006), fully validate the idea that his artists were not best positioned in the area