[Joseph-Napoléon Bonaparte]

Method Steel engraving
Artist Charles-Simon Pradier after François Gérard
Published F. Gérard pinxit. C.S. Pradier Sculpt. 1813. Imprimee par Durand.
Dimensions Image 570 x 410 mm, Plate 720 x 530 mm
Notes A proof impression of this very large and impressive engraved portrait of Joseph-Napoléon Bonaparte as King of Spain, after the painting by François Gérard. Bonaparte is shown full length, standing slightly contrapposto before his throne. He wears a ceremonial sword on his waist, a brocaded surcoat, stockings, slippers, and ruff, and his long ermine and velvet gown features the lion and tower motif of Castile and Leon. In his right hand, he holds a glove and feathered hat while his bare left hand clutches a sceptre, which he rests on a side table holding his crown. Gérard's painting was completed in 1808 to celebrate Joseph's elevation to the throne of Spain. The appointment was not a positive one, for either Joseph or Spain in general. Joseph was forced to give up his previous appointment as King of Naples, a role in which he was popular and held in high esteem, in favour of Napoleon's brother in law, Joachim Murat. The people of Spain, offended by seeing the crown on the head of a Frenchman, particularly as the appointment came from a man who had been excommunicated, hated Joseph from the outset and revolted. Despite his best efforts to win over his new subjects, including abolition of the Inquisition, his rule was marred by persistent resistance, and following the fall of Napoleon in 1813, he abdicated and moved to the United States.

Joseph-Napoléon Bonaparte (1768-1844) was a French lawyer, diplomat, politician, and the older brother of Napoleon. Through Napoleon, he was appointed King of Naples in 1806, and then King of Spain from 1808 until 1813, at which time he became a private citizen, spending the rest of his life in the United States, London, and finally Florence.

Charles-Simon Pradier (1786-1847) was a Swiss French engraver, who was active in Paris and Brazil.

François Pascal Simon, Baron Gérard (1770-1837) was a French painter born in Rome. At the age of twelve Gérard obtained admission into the Pension du Roi in Paris. From the Pension he passed to the studio of the sculptor Augustin Pajou followed by that of the history painter Nicolas-Guy Brenet, whom he quit almost immediately to place himself under Jacques-Louis David. In 1794 he obtained the first prize in a competition, the subject of which was The Tenth of August, that is, the storming of the Tuileries Palace. By 1808 as many as eight, and in 1810 no less than fourteen, portraits by him, were exhibited at the Salon, and these figures afford only an indication of the enormous numbers which he executed yearly. All the leading figures of the Empire and of the Bourbon Restoration, all the most celebrated men and women of Europe, sat to Gérard. This extraordinary vogue was due partly to the charm of his manner and conversation, for his salon was as much frequented as his studio. Madame de Staël, George Canning, Talleyrand, and the Duke of Wellington all bore witness to the attraction of his society.

Condition: Proof before title. Dirt staining and foxing to margins and to edges of plate. Repaired tears to edges of sheet and into plate, but without damage to image. Minor creases and surface abrasion.
Framing unmounted
Price £500.00
Stock ID 51803