After the Revolution: Antoine-Jean Gros, Painting, and Propaganda Under Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon and Antoine-Jean Gros first met in 1796 in Italy, where the young French painter was working as a portraitist and attempting to recover from the upheavals of the French Revolution. The meeting changed Gros's life. Soon thereafter, he was making paintings-Napoleon Visiting the Battlefield of Eylau, Napoleon Visiting the Plague-Stricken in Jaffa, and others-that commemorated the great deeds of the Corsican upstart and have come to be regarded as masterpieces of both art and propaganda. After the Revolution by David O'Brien is the first account in over a century to trace Gros's meteoric career, from its beginnings in Paris in David's studio to its Napoleonic successes and its end in a mysterious suicide. Drawing on letters from the artist to his mother, many of which O'Brien discovered, this book gives the reader a compelling account of the opportunities and conflicts faced by a brilliant, sensitive artist working for an increasingly autocratic regime. O'Brien's highly original book weaves a comprehensive biography of Gros together with a history of the institutional machinery through which Napoleon encouraged but also regulated the arts. Here again, O'Brien introduces the