There’s never a dull day in the United States of America these days. While perusing Twitter this morning, I was delighted to come across the news that Steve Bannon, the ultra-right-wing White House Chief Strategist for the Trump Administration and former executive chair of Breitbart News, apparently owns a painting of himself as Napoleon Bonaparte. The details come from a new profile of Bannon by Joshua Green in New York:
“On his office wall hung an oil painting of Bannon dressed as Napoleon in his study at the Tuileries, done in the style of Jacques-Louis David’s famous neoclassical painting—a gift from Nigel Farage.”
Definitely a nice gift, though it’s unfortunate that Farage didn’t go with David’s 1805 Napoleon Crossing the Alps, which is a bit more traditionally manly, a bit more forcefully impressive.
David painted two versions of The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries—one is now housed in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the other is at Versailles. (As an aside, let us just note that he made them in 1812, the year of Napoleon’s futile invasion of Russia.)
The Neoclassical painter is really having a hot moment. While trying and failing to track down a photo of this intriguing artwork (if you have a photo, please send it over), I came across an anti-Trump Canadian artist named Pat Shea, who has done a version of David’s 1807 The Coronation of Napoleon called, naturally, The Coronation of Donald Trump. Trump is the focal point here, though Bannon does make an appearance, looming in the shadows, as is his wont. I’ve reached out to the White House for details on Bannon’s painting and will update the post if I hear back.
On Twitter, Adam Blickstein wisely shares the painting from The Sopranos that Paulie Gualtieri (aka Paulie Walnuts) displays in his home of Tony Soprano dressed as a general. Please enjoy the clip below of Tony encountering that painting and then sharing a kind of painting-appreciation talk with Paulie.
A final question for us to consider: are Farage and Bannon aware of how Napoleon’s story ends?