Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

'New York Post' slammed for publishing ISIS execution images

Read more

DEBATE

Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza: Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza conflict: 72-hour ceasefire deal sets stage for Cairo talks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users divided over Darren Wilson

Read more

FOCUS

Spain's El Hierro to become world's first self-powered island

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A bellwether for what not to do

Read more

ENCORE!

Luc Besson back in action with Scarlett Johansson in 'Lucy'

Read more

FOCUS

Israel's minorities and military service

Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

  • Brutal IS beheading video sparks social media pushback

    Read more

  • US attorney general visits Missouri town after fatal shooting

    Read more

  • French village rallies behind besieged elderly British couple

    Read more

  • Netanyahu compares Hamas to IS, Gaza offensive to continue

    Read more

  • France’s ex-PM Juppé sets up presidential clash with Sarkozy

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande says global security ‘worst since 2001’

    Read more

  • France urges Iran, others in region, to join fight against IS

    Read more

  • A new view on Normandy landings, 70 years on

    Read more

  • Dozens killed as landslides strike Japan’s Hiroshima

    Read more

  • Suspected Ebola cases in Austria, new drug raises hopes

    Read more

  • WWII anniversary highlights best - and worst - of Paris police

    Read more

  • Headscarf at the beach sparks French MEP’s fury

    Read more

  • Video: Life in under-siege Donetsk

    Read more

  • Racism, riots and police violence: USA under scrutiny

    Read more

Culture

Cleaning reveals long-lost Napoleon painting from 1813

© afp

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-10-01

A long-lost portrait of French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte has been discovered in New York after a cleaning revealed that it was a genuine 1813 work by Neoclassical painter Jacques-Louis David, and not a copy as previously thought.

A portrait of French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, thought lost for two centuries, has turned up in New York, having been bought for less than a hundredth of its probable value.

The artwork, painted by Jacques-Louis David in 1813 when Britain and Prussia were threatening to occupy France, shows Napoleon I pledging to defend the country from invasion, wearing his national guard uniform to do so.

He is posing, as was his habit, with his right hand in his waistcoat.

Thought to be a copy, the painting was sold in 2005 to a New York private collector for around £15,000 ($24,000, 18,000 euros).

The buyer had it cleaned then asked French art expert Simon Lee from the University of Reading, west of London, for his help in authenticating it.

He compared it to copies and other David paintings.

"Although the painting is signed with David's genuine signature, the cleaning revealed the word Rouget and the date 1813 appeared in the underpaint," Lee said.

Georges Rouget was David's preferred assistant for almost 10 years, and had a role in putting images on the canvas.

"Some collectors or museums might be put off by having two names on the canvas -- but in many ways that is proof that it is an authentic product of David's working process."

The portrait had been in the Borthwick-Norton family at their castle outside Edinburgh and was gifted to the Royal Scottish Academy in 1988.

"Our collection policy is for Scottish arts and Scottish items so we don't collect work by European artists," an RSA spokesman told AFP.

"It was valued by a number of auction houses, and experts looked at it and it was given the status of being a copy."

Now it seems the academy has missed out on a small fortune. The painting is thought to be worth more than £2 million ($3.2 million, 2.4 million euros).

David was one of Europe's foremost painters from around 1780 until his death in 1825.

"I am thrilled to have discovered this beautiful painting which offers a unique insight into the role that art could play at a time of war," said Lee.

"By having his portrait painted in national guard uniform, Napoleon was promoting himself as protector and defender of the nation at the time when France was under great threat.

"David produced an image of the emperor to galvanise resistance and foster patriotism, yet the painting never reached a wide audience because of the unexpectedly swift allied invasion that ensured the image remained uncirculated and practically unknown."

(AFP)

 

Date created : 2013-10-01

  • ART

    Long lost Van Gogh painting of French oaks unveiled

    Read more

  • ART

    French town raises €4m to bring Courbet painting home

    Read more

  • FRANCE - PAINTING

    Ritz renovation reveals 17th-century Le Brun painting

    Read more

COMMENT(S)