L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Sunday, November 24, 2013

First Empress of the French - Official state portrait of the Empress Joséphine by Baron Gérard

Portrait by François Pascal Simon, Baron Gérard (March 12, 1770, Rome – January 11, 1837, Paris), circa 1808

Joséphine de Beauharnais (June 23, 1763, Les Trois-Îlets, Martinique – May 29, 1814, Rueil-Malmaison), born Marie Josèphe Rose Tascher de la Pagerie, was the first wife of Napoléon I.  Married previously to Alexandre de Beauharnais, who was executed during the French Revolution, she and Napoléon were wed in 1796.  She had two children from her first marriage, but was unable to provide Napoléon - now emperor and anxious to found a dynasty - with an heir.  In 1810, she reluctantly agreed to a divorce so that he might remarry.  He insisted that she retain the title of empress, and they remained close until her death.

I've always loved how Gérard painted the emerald jewelry, particularly the central stone in her tiara;
the hints of other color in the green and the reflection on the flat of the stone's face are perfection.

Gérard's oil sketch for the portrait; many of his preparatory oils sketches have survived.

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