An Allegory of Empress Josephine as Patroness of the Gardens at Malmaison

baron François Gérard French

Not on view

In this watercolor, Gérard pays homage to Napoleon’s first wife, Josephine, as a patron of horticulture. He shows the goddess Flora adorning a bust of the empress with a garland of flowers. The background features the great glasshouse on the grounds of Malmaison, constructed to protect Josephine’s collection of exotic plants and serve as a space for entertaining guests. Appointed premier peintre (first painter) to the Empress Josephine in 1806, Gérard enjoyed success along with a reputation as a portrait painter for the Bonaparte family and their entourage that surpassed even that of his teacher Jacques Louis David.

An Allegory of Empress Josephine as Patroness of the Gardens at Malmaison, baron François Gérard (French, Rome 1770–1837 Paris), Watercolor and pen and black ink, over black chalk underdrawing on paper, laid down on board

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