Francois-Pascal-Simon Gerard

Madame Mère (Maria Laetitia Ramolino Bonaparte, 1750 - 1836) (About 1800 - 1804)

About this artwork

This stately full-length portrait of Napoleon's mother, known as Madame Mère, shows her sumptuously dressed and seated in a grand apartment with a view overlooking the Tuileries in Paris. She came from a Tuscan family and was born in Corsica. A sculpted bust of her son as consul, close in type to one carved by Louis-Simon Boizot in 1800, confirms her status. Napoleon was the second eldest of her thirteen children, eight of whom survived. The portrait was taken to Italy by her granddaughter, Mathilde, Napoleon's niece, when she married into the wealthy Florentine Demidoff family.

Francois-Pascal-Simon Gerard

Francois-Pascal-Simon Gerard

Gérard became Napoleon's favourite portrait painter, but also established a reputation as a fine history painter. He managed to maintain favour during the Revolution, the First Empire and the Restoration of the Monarchy and was created a baron by Louis XVIII. Gérard was born in Rome, but trained in Paris in the studio of the eminent neoclassical painter Jacques-Louis David. His success brought him a large busy studio and a team of assistants which facilitated the production of many consistently charming and elegant works.