Bonaparte at the Pont d'Arcole

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Bonaparte at the Pont d'Arcole
1801 Antoine-Jean Gros - Bonaparte on the Bridge at Arcole.jpg
ArtistAntoine-Jean Gros
MediumOil on canvas
Dimensions130 cm × 94 cm (51 in × 37 in)
LocationPalace of Versailles, Versailles

Bonaparte at the Pont d’Arcole (French: Bonaparte au Pont d’Arcole) is a 1796 painting by Antoine-Jean Gros, showing an episode during the Battle of Arcole in November 1796, with General Napoleon Bonaparte leading his troops to storm the bridge.


Bonaparte au pont d'Arcole, preparatory study of 1796 for the Versailles portrait (Paris Musée du Louvre), considered superior to the final painting[1]
Version on show at the Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg.

The painting presents a three-quarter-length image of Bonaparte, holding the flagstaff of the Armée d'Italie in his left hand and his sword in his right - on its blade is the inscription Bonaparte, Armée d'Italie. He is dressed in the dark blue trousers and tunic of a general of the First French Republic, with a gold-embroidered red collar. Beneath them he wears a white shirt and a black neckscarf. He also wears a gold-fringed tricolor cummerbund and a square-buckled belt bearing his empty scabbard. The background suggests the smoke of battle, with a few houses in the distance on the left. The land bordering the river is painted in dark tones, with a smoking cannonball still visible.


Painted in Naples in 1796, the painting passed through the collections of Napoleon himself and of Napoleon III before being sequestered after the fall of the Second French Empire in 1870. It was then reacquired by Napoleon III's wife Eugénie de Montijo in 1871, who eight years later gave it to the Louvre (now inventory number RF271). It passed to the château de Compiègne in 1901, then finally the Palace of Versailles in 1938 (inventory number MV 6314).

Related works[edit]

  • Sketch at the musée du Louvre, it was approved by Bonaparte as the basis for the final painting

Other versions at :


  1. ^ D. O Brien (2006,Antoine Jean gros, peintre de napoléon p.32
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-11-18. Retrieved 2015-11-17.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)


  • (in French) Jean-Baptiste Delestre Gros et ses ouvrages éd. Jules Labitte 1845
  • (in French) Raymond Escholier Gros ses amis et ses élèves - exhibition at the Petit Palais May-July 1936, éd. Floury Paris 1936 - pp. 1 à 4, plate 1 (Louvre sketch)
  • (in French) David O Brien Antoine Jean Gros, peintre de Napoléon Gallimard 2006 - ISBN 2-07-011786-3 - chapter 1, une formation en Italie pp.31-40