Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

BUSINESS DAILY

French Prime Minister calls on ECB to go further to help economy

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

South Africa: Four men guilty of shooting Rwandan exile

Read more

WEB NEWS

France: fighting political corruption with transparency

Read more

WEB NEWS

Using the web to further the cause: ISIS vs USA

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Armeli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • Anti-government protesters storm Pakistan's state TV

    Read more

  • PSG trounce Saint-Etienne 5-0 with Ibrahimovic hat trick

    Read more

  • Putin calls for 'statehood' talks on eastern Ukraine

    Read more

  • Rescue efforts under way after French apartment block blast

    Read more

  • Israel appropriates large tracts of West Bank land

    Read more

  • Tension rises in Hong Kong as Beijing rejects open elections

    Read more

  • French police stop 'teenage jihadist' from flying to Syria

    Read more

  • Kidnapped Yazidi women 'sold to Islamists' in Syria

    Read more

  • Confusion reigns after Lesotho 'coup'

    Read more

  • France's Simon beats Ferrer to advance to last 16 in US Open

    Read more

  • French PM vows to safeguard 35-hour work week

    Read more

  • Inside Novoazovsk – the pro-Russians' latest conquest

    Read more

  • Filipino UN troops escape Islamists in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • Fugitive British killer returns to French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Pakistani protesters clash with police outside PM's house

    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)