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"Buonaparte" a contemporary portrait of the young General Napoléon Bonaparte (1769-1821)
Élisabeth G Herhan (Fl. 1798-1810) after Jean Urbain Guérin (1760/61-1836)
Published by Antoine Auguste Renouard (1765-1853)
Stipple Engraving, 1797
18.5 cm x 13 cm (sheet)
Stipple engraving of Napoléon bust length with long hair, stock, and embroidered jacket. Within an oval border, inscribed below, "Dessiné par J. Guérin - Gravé par Elisth G Herhan", with the title "BUONAPARTE" and publication details "Déposé à la Bibliothèque Nationale le 29 Fructidor, An 6 de la République Française [15 September 1797] / à Paris, chez A. A. Renouard, rue André-des-Arcs No. 42"'
See Royal Collection RCIN 617651; British Museum BM 1889,0603.228 etc
A scarce print after a portrait by Jean-Urbain Guérin (1760-1836) which is one of the earliest published depictions of Napoleon, made just as he was coming to prominence as a 29-year-old General. Guérin, along with Jean-Baptiste Isabey and Jacques Augustin, is considered to be one of the finest French miniaturists.
The print was published as part of a series of representing the famous generals of the French Republican Army: "Collection des portraits des généraux qui se sont le plus distingués dans les guerres de la république française". An advertisement in "Journal typographique et bibliographique" on 1 Prairial an VI (20 May 1798) announces the publication of the first two plates (portraits of Kléber and Bernadotte) and describes a set of "thirty to forty" portraits, engraved by Fiesinger after Guérin (cost: 5 francs), and another set, engraved after the same compositions but reduced in size, engraved by Fiesinger's pupil Elisabeth Herhan (cost: 1,50 francs). However, some of the small versions were also eventually executed by Fiesinger (portraits of Gouvion St Cyr, Masséna, Sainte-Suzanne). This plate was advertised in "Journal typographique et bibliographique", 24 Thermidor an VI (11 August 1798) & 30 Germinal an VII (19 April 1799), and in "Journal de Paris", 27 Ventôse an VII (27 March 1799).