Portrait of Alexandrine Thérèse Nardot, Comtesse Daru
Portrait of Comtesse Daru / David

The 26-year-old Countess Daru is the epitome of early 19th-century fashion. Her cheerful expression, jewels, and stylish armchair are evidence of her social and financial prosperity under the Empire.

David made this portrait as surprise gift for the sitter's husband, Count Daru. Daru was a powerful member of Napoleon's administration and had helped David in his long struggle to receive payment for his painting of the coronation. David felt an affinity with Daru, a man of letters who had also been imprisoned during the Revolution. He hoped this gift would persuade Daru to continue to intervene on his behalf.

The Darus were both pleased with the portait. "I admire the portrait more than anyone," admitted the Countess to David, "though it is not very modest of me."