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Study of a Bishop and Two Clerics

Jacques Louis David French

Not on view

In order to present his authority as divinely sanctioned, Napoleon arranged to have Pope Pius VII travel to Paris to take part in his coronation. The relationship was an uneasy one, as the Roman Catholic Church had only recently been reintegrated into French society in 1801.

This group of three religious figures, which would become three bishops in the final version, occupied a central place in the composition, as a backdrop to the imperial couple. The men’s importance, both visual and symbolic, is reflected in the care David took with this study, finely detailed and modeled in gray wash.

Study of a Bishop and Two Clerics, Jacques Louis David (French, Paris 1748–1825 Brussels), Pen and gray ink, brush and gray wash, over black chalk, squared in black chalk

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