Baron François Gérard (French, Rome 1770–1837 Paris)
Oil on canvas
83 7/8 x 57 7/8 in. (213 x 147 cm)
Purchase, Mrs. Charles Wrightsman Gift, 2012 (2012.348)
Talleyrand commissioned this elegant informal portrait after he resigned from his position as minister of foreign affairs to protest Napoleon's continuing military ambitions. Gérard knew and received him personally in his studio: the imposing presence and unrevealing expression are typical. The insignia of the Legion d'honneur is embroidered on Talleyrand's coat and across his waistcoat is the red sash of the Grand Cordon of the order, awarded in 1805. He also wears the emblem of the Golden Fleece, presented to him at the Congress of Vienna, and added to the picture by Gérard in or after 1815.