Who’s Who in Portraits 2: Napoleon and French Rulers

In the second of our series, Who's Who in Portraits, we demonstrate that many of the most iconic portraits of the same man, Napoleon, are representations of the artist as "the ruler of French art." Artist after artist fused his own features with Napoleon's though in David's most famous portrait the artist used another way. He gave the great man his own flop of hair to signify with the use of a symbol his "presence" in Napoleon. None of these artists, though, invented the practice (or developed its meaning) as demonstrated in Who's Who #1. Nevertheless, this issue does go on to reveal even earlier examples in French art beginning with the oldest realistic depiction of a French monarch, the portrait of King Charles VII by Fouquet in 1451. Vive Le Peintre!

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