A picture is worth a thousand words

jean-baptiste regnault - empress josephineAbove image: Empress Josephine (ca 1810) oil on canvas by Jean-Baptiste Regnault Foundation Desne-Theos (Institute de France) Paris, (Frederic Masson Bequest).

Empress Josephine is also known as Josephine Bonaparte (1763-1814). She was baptized Marie-Joseph Rose de Tascher de la Pagerie and born into an aristocratic Creole family on the Caribbean island of Martinique.

After a disastrous early marriage in France, Josephine was allowed to claim her former husband’s possessions after the Reign of Terror Revolution and used her new found status to launch herself as one Paris’s leading society hostesses. She met Napoléon Bonaparte in 1795 and a year later they were married in 1796, when she was 33 and he was 28 years old.

Glamorous and sophisticated, Josephine was a style icon creating some of the most elegant interiors of the Consular Period and created a garden famous for its exotic flora and fauna which she developed when she purchased Malmaison estate outside of Paris. She was fascinated with Australian flora and fauna and engaged some of the best garden designers of the time to create her paradise and keep her menagerie of animals including kangaroos, emus, a red-necked wallaby, cockatoos and black swans.

Regnault | Venus Preparing Herself

Regnault | Venus Preparing Herself

French painter and artist, Jean-Baptiste Regnault was born in Paris on 9 October 1754. At the age of 15, his artistic talent attracted much attention and he was sent to Italy by M. de Monval under the care of Bardin to continue with his studies.

After his return to Paris in 1776, Regnault won the Grand Prix for his painting Alexandre and Diogène. His diploma picture, the Education of Achilles by Chiron, is now in the Louvre, as also is the Christ taken down from the Cross, originally executed for the Royal Chapel at Fontainebleau.

Jean-Baptiste Regnault was married first to Sophie Meyer, then later to Sophie Félicité Beaucourt. He died in Paris on 2nd November, 1829 and is buried in Père-Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.

  • Napoléon Bonaparte is famous for stating, “A picture is worth a thousand words.
  • I wonder whether he was referring to this painting?

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