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Napoleon I, Emperor of the French

1769 - 1821

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 - 1821) was a Corsican who became ruler of France from 1799 until his downfall in 1814. He gained control amid the chaos of the revolutionary wars, offering the prospect of military glory and internal stability, both of which he initially achieved. He first attained eminence as General Bonaparte and was then made First Consul before crowning himself Emperor of the French in 1804. The combined forces of the Allies defeated him in 1814 and again, after his escape from captivity and return to France, in 1815.

He was a great patron of the arts and created the Musée Napoleon in the Louvre where the many paintings and sculptures from countries which France had conquered were displayed. Jacques-Louis David painted his coronation as well as other portraits of him. Ingres also painted him.