- Revolutionary Tradition and Les Mis
- Revolution 1789
of the Bastille
- -- Fall of Robespierre
in Les Miserables
Names and Games
of Napoleon, Issac Cruikshank, 1810
- Napoleon at the Bridge of Arcola, Baron Gros
and Baron Gros
- Isaac Cruikshank was a
Scottish man who lived during the late 18th and early 19th century.
He was known as an outstanding artist and was in demand as a
printmaker. He did not have strong political opinions: in some
prints he praises the French Revolution, while in others he attacks
reformers such as Thomas Paine. This caricature of Napoleon does
not reflect the artist's opinion, but rather captures the national
sentiment towards the successful Italian general.
- Baron Gros met Napoleon
in 1793 when he was appointed Napoleon's official battle painter.
He followed Napoleon throughout Europe during his military campaigns,
and recorded some of the most stirring images of the Napoleonic
Era. His elaborate painting characterizes Napoleon as the successful
general that he was, and reflects the adoring opinion of both
the artist and the French people.
- These two works display
drastically different opinions of Napoleon. Both show him on
a battlefield and both portray him as a general, but the caricature
mocks Napoleon, while the painting elevates him to the status
- In this caricature, Isaac
Cruikshank portrays Napoleon as a toy solider fighting at Toulon.
Napoleon is located in the middle of the painting, surrounded
by dead soldiers. He is taking no heed of the carnage surrounding
him and is setting off a cannon, intent on continuing his battle.
The use of the cannon makes Napoleon seem like a coward: he does
not fight man to man, but hides behind heavy artillery. In this
work, Napoleon is small, unfeeling, and cowardly. Even the tricolor
waving behind Napoleon mocks him. The flag is tattered and dirty
and suggests that the nation it represents is in a similar state.
This is exactly the image that the English people of the early
19th century wanted to see as Napoleon threatened their national
security. It was easier for them to mock Napoleon than to acknowledge
him as a significant threat, as an emporer or as a general.
- The painting by Baron
Gros presents an entirely different view of Napoleon: a victorious
and virtuous general. Napoleon dominates the canvas, and is clothed
resplendently in the colors of France. In one hand, he carries
the tricolor and in the other, he holds an unsheathed sword.
He does not gaze at the viewer; instead, he is looking backwards,
beckoning his troops toward victory. This painting portrays Napoleon
as heroic and idealizes his success on the battlefield. This
was painted before Napoleon seized power in France, and does
not represent him as emporer. It serves as propaganda, to persuade
the French that Napoleon is a good leader.
- These images represent
the drastically differing views of Napoleon in Europe at the
turn of the century. The French idolized Napoleon as a general;
he was given credit for saving the war. By 1810, Napoleon was
both an emporer and a successful general. European nations feared
Napoleon and consequently mocked him.