Study for a Portrait of General Bonaparte
Study for a Portrait Bonaparte / David

Enthralled by Bonaparte's courageous victory over Austria at Lodi, Italy, David approached him about commemorating the battle in a monumental portrait. This drawing represents an early idea for the composition, showing the lean young leader meditating over whether to retreat or charge into battle. David did not create this image from life, but rather from paintings and prints being done by other artists accompanying Napoleon's entourage in Italy.

David never made a painting of this scene. Napoleon's image underwent rapid change in the late 1790s, and the artist abandoned the project.