||Portrait of Emperor Alexander I
Gerard Francois (?)
Oil on canvas
This portrait is ascribed to Francois Gerard, a pupil of the notable Jacques-Louis David and a favorite artist of Napoleon and his wife Josephine. From 1795 the artist showed his portraits and compositions on mythological and historical themes at various salons or exhibitions. This formal portrait of the Emperor was probably created during a period of truce following the Peace of Tilzit, reached between Russia and France in 1807. Alexander I (1777-1825) was the son of Emperor Paul I and Empress Maria Fyodorovna. He came to power after the palace revolution on March 12, 1801, which resulted in his father's death. The most important event of Alexander's reign was the Patriotic War of 1812, when Napoleon's troops occupied Moscow before retreating in defeat, their numbers decimated.