Napoleon and the Alps

Napoleon and the Alps

Napoleon is one of the most recognizable historical figures. He had an exciting and complicated career, and we still feel the effects of his actions today. While he certainly had a more direct impact on Europe, he played a role in American history as well. In the earl 1800s, President Jefferson bought the Louisiana Territory from Napoleon’s France.  

Napoleon understood the value of good PR, well before that term had been invented. When the King of Spain offered a painting’s commission from the talented artist Jacques-Louis David, Napoleon already had an idea. He wanted to be viewed and remembered in a way that I can only describe as epic. He went with an epic painting that recalled one of his greatest achievements- his passage through the Alps, and the subsequent French victory. He had David paint and frame several versions of the painting, which is why you may have seen this painting with slightly different coloring.

An epic oil painting of Napoleon crossing the mountains in the winter

And sure enough, I think it worked. For many, this very painting is what they think of when they picture Napoleon: confident, ready, looking strong and ready to plow ahead through the snow and right into battle. But how realistic is this depiction? Probabably not very. Some years later, the painter Paul Delaroche decided to take on this same idea in a different way. While Napoleon’s crossing of the Alps was a major accomplishment before a major victory, it would not have been like the epic painting shows. Crossing the Alps in the winter is hard and miserable- and perhaps all the more impressive for that.

An alternate take on the famous piece of historical artwork

Which is better than the other? There’s no right answer to that question. Each painting had a different purpose, so it’s hard to directly judge one against the other. We also don’t have to. Taken together, they give us a much richer understanding of the crossing. We see both the grim reality of the toil of the march, in Delaroche’s version, yes. But we also see how it was depicted and viewed at the time- and certainly, to anyone waiting for Napoleon on the other side of the pass, he may have looked more like the the hero astride the great stallion in the brilliant uniform. And of course, we today can choose to mat and display either or both, if we like!

One final piece- a different style, depicting a different general making the same crossing thousands of years before. It Turner’s “Snow Storm: Hannibal and his Army Crossing the Alps”

An abstract painting showing a looming shadow against the sun while Hannibal crosses the Alps

Recommended Reading

Valentines Matboards and Frames

Valentines Day Matboard and Frame Ideas Custom Heart Shaped Matboards A Valentine Day matboard and frame is a great gift to show someone how much you care. A heart shaped matboard and frame is a simple yet thoughtful way to show your appreciation. See our custom designs for loving gift ideas this Valentines Day. Contact us with [

read more »
2019 Photo Contest

2019 Photo Contest We are launching our biggest contest ever! E-mail or Instagram a picture of our mattes or frames with your artwork for a chance to win up to $200. This is a fun way to share your artwork with our audience and show case how you use our custom matting and framing products! [

read more »
Paris in Paint, Paris on Film

Paris in Paint, Paris on Film While we can mat and frame a lot of different things, photos and paintings are the most common things to put in a frame, so deal with them a lot. And on this rainy Friday, it gave me an idea- let’s take a look at the same place through [

read more »
2022 Christmas Submissions

2022 Christmas Submissions 2022 was an incredible year all around for Matboard and More. We are excited to share with you some of the customer submissions from the holiday season. It’s always an honor for us when our custom mats and picture frames are utilized to showcase your gifts and treasured art pieces. To be [

read more »
Beautify Your Mats with Unique Openings. 7 Custom Corners Now Available!

Custom Opening Shapes Available In addition to oval opening matboards, we’ve added unique corners including Diamond, Rounded, Angled, Step and Circle corners. Explore all our new custom mat board openings now.

read more »
The Photo Contest Returns!

The Photo Contest Returns! After a brief hiatus for the New Year, our month photo contest is back! We have two winners this time, one for each month.   This month, the winners are htegan with a colorful and beautiful wall display, and emm_squared with a unique and fun piece of Harry Potter artwork.  PRIZES The [

read more »
2020 Photo Contest Winners Announced

Jen A is this years winner of the photo contest! This picture is so perfectly framed, pardon the pun. This year was definitely the best in terms of quality of photos. We had so many creative submissions and it was very challenging for our team to choose, but Jen A stood out with her gorgeous [

read more »
V-Grooves Now Available

V-Grooves Available for Custom Matting V-Grooves are a shallow cut across the mat which exposes the core color of the top mat. V-Grooves can be cream, white or black depending on the mat core color. Your matboards will have extra flair and style that will make uniquely display your art. Add a V-Groove with just 1 click on [

read more »
A Little Bit About William Johnson

A Little Bit About William Johnson Today, we’re going to take a look at William Johnson. He was an artist I was not very familiar with, but had seen some of his pieces from to time. I enjoy his style, so decided to have a closer look at some of his pieces. But before I [

read more »
Items per page:
9
1 – 9 of 138
Matboard and More Logo

We sell pre cut mats and custom picture frames in any size, color and quantity. Our products also include custom matting, backing boards, clear bags, show kits, matboard value packs, custom plexiglass.

© 2012 - 2023 Matboard and More LLC, All Rights Reserved