French Neoclassical artist Antoine-Jean Gros paints General Baston de Lariboisière and His Son Ferdinand in 1805, a year after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo and the mood in France is generally a complex of remembrance and mourning. Here, Ferdinand is portrayed as a gallant and brave young officer of the Napoleonic army as he stands with an air of ambition. He grasps the hand of his father general who proudly seems to endorse him.
The scene is at the battlefield at the moment of the beginning of the engagement – as signaled by the bugles in the background. On the left in shadow is an officer mounted on a horse. Perhaps this is a reference to the expected bloom of young Ferdinand’s potential, a potential tragically ended at the Battle of Borodino in 1812.
Antoine-Jean Gros: General Baston de Lariboisière and His Son Ferdinand is at the Hôtel des Invalides in Paris, France.