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David is the founder of French neoclassicism, artistically rethinking the standards of classicism and updating them in accordance with the era. An ardent revolutionary, a supporter of the French revolution, devoted to Napoleon and who believed that he was able to give the world what he needed so much.
“Napoleon at the St. Bernard Pass” - the picture is completely staged. It was not written in order to convey the historical reality and recall how everything was - it was created to magnify Napoleon even more, to give his image a sparkle. The horse reared up. A raincoat roars in the wind.
With a royal gesture, Napoleon points forward to where his army is supposed to come. Under the hoofs of a horse, on stones that no longer look like a pedestal, the names “Hannibal”, “Charlemagne” and “Napoleon” - the great commanders who walked along this path - are knocked out.
The solemnity and pathos of the picture are determined by its purpose. It should be like that, because Napoleon must be a formidable giant on it, the conqueror, whom kings and countries bowed to.
In fact, everything was a bit wrong. Napoleon captured Italy, that's right. He reached her precisely through the St. Bernard Pass, because the least they expected him from there. It never occurred to anyone that he would lead his troops through the passes. But there was no solemnity in this - on the contrary. The army was drowning in the snow. The cannons removed from the wheels were pulled on a sleigh by people - no cattle could withstand such weather. Many soldiers died from the cold.
Napoleon himself once nearly died - a mule stumbled on a steep slope and the commander almost flew into the abyss. It was a great trip, and David’s picture shows its inner essence, hiding behind the theatricality of backdrops, behind the fury of the clouds, how much blood and frostbitten people Napoleon left on that pass.
Picture Mashkov Strawberry And White Jug Description