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Portrait, Historical, European, Napoleon, Carle Vernet, Antique Print, Paris, 19th Century


Carle Vernet (1758-1836) (after)
C. Motte (lithographer)
Premier Consul [Napoleon I]
Weber, Paris: 1st Half 19th Century
Hand-colored lithograph
16.75 x 14 inches, image
23 x 17 inches, overall

Portrait of Napoleon on horseback based on a painting by Carle Vernet known as Equestrian Portrait of Emperor Napoleon I (1805-1810). The painting is today in a private collection and reputedly was a gift from Napoleon to General Anne Jean Marie René Savary, Duke of Rovigo, who was among the last to desert Napoleon at his abdication in 1814. The print differs in several respects from the painting, which is reproduced online (see Kren in References below). The pose of Napoleon and the horse are the same, but the print adds gold trim to the hat, replaces Napoleon’s red sash with a gold-trimmed vest, replaces the straight sword with a curved one, and adds deep modeling to the horse. The background is entirely different, replacing the battle scene and tree of the painting with a forbidding and empty rocky ravine.

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Carle Vernet was a French painter, lithographer and draftsman from a family of artists that included his father, grandfather, uncles, and his son Horace Vernet. Born in Bordeaux, he was awarded the Prix de Rome in 1782 and was approved by the Royal Academy in 1789. Both Carle and Horace Vernet were known for their equestrian and military scenes and painted many pictures of Napoleon. Carle Vernet was also known for his satirical aquatints and lithographed observations of contemporary manners. In addition to his son, another famous pupil of Vernet’s was Theodore Gericault. Vernet’s paintings and prints are in museum collections around the world including the Louvre.

Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light toning and wear.


“Carle [Antoine-Charles-Joseph] Vernet.” The Grove Dictionary of Art. New York: Macmillan. 2000. (2 June 2009).

Kren, Emil and Daniel Marx. Web Gallery of Art. (2 June 2009).