"Jacques-Louis David Meets Kehinde Wiley" at Brooklyn Museum Challenges the History of Western Portraiture

Comparing the artists’ culturally unique interpretations of Napoleon Bonaparte.

By
Arts
3,534 Hypes 0 Comments

For the first time ever, Kehinde Wiley’s iconic Napoleon Leading the Army over the Alps (2005) painting is now on view alongside its original inspiration, Jacques-Louis David’s Bonaparte Crossing the Alps (1800–1), in a new exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum in partnership with Musée national des châteaux de Malmaison et Bois-Préau. Titled “Jacques-Louis David Meets Kehinde Wiley,” the exhibition pits the artists’ two impactful works against each other in order to explore “how ideas of race, masculinity, representation, power, and agency have played out across the history of Western portraiture.”

By comparing and contrasting Wiley and David’s pieces — which were created over 200 years apart — the museum seeks to point out the critical ways in which the former depicts stature and culture as it pertains to the Black experience in the present day. Wiley notably replaces Napoleon, a white man of French heritage, with a Black man who embodies many of the lifestyle elements and fashion cues familiar to individuals of the African diaspora, swapping traditional battle gear for Timberland boots, a bandana, athletic wristbands, camouflage streetwear and more. The ensuing juxtaposition questions the historical canon of art, which has often lacked a multicultural lens and “routinely overlooked the collective Black cultural experience.”

“Jacques-Louis David Meets Kehinde Wiley” is credited as the first instance for David’s portrait to be on view in New York, while the exhibition as a whole marks the first time for both pieces to be shown together throughout the entire U.S. It is on view now at the Brooklyn Museum and will run until May 10, 2020.

For more art news, read about 20 of the must-see exhibitions around the world this year.

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Pkwy
Brooklyn, NY 11238

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Today Kehinde Wiley’s triumphant Napoleon Leading the Army over the Alps (2005) comes home to Brooklyn with its nineteen-century source, Jacques-Louis David’s Bonaparte Crossing the Alps (1800–1). Seen together, the works by David and Wiley reveal how race, masculinity, power, and representation layer onto portraiture and shape the writing of history. See Jacques-Louis David Meets Kehinde Wiley now through May 10. #davidxwiley⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Kehinde Wiley (American, born 1977). Napoleon Leading the Army over the Alps (detail), 2005. Oil on canvas. Brooklyn Museum, Partial gift of Suzi and Andrew Booke Cohen in memory of Ilene R. Booke and in honor of Arnold L. Lehman, Mary Smith Dorward Fund, and William K. Jacobs, Jr. Fund, 2015.53. © Kehinde Wiley ⇨ Jacques-Louis David (French, 1748-1825). Bonaparte Crossing the Alps (Bonaparte franchissant le Grand-Saint-Bernard) (detail), 1801. Oil on canvas. Collection of Château de Malmaison. (Photo: Courtesy RMN-GP)

A post shared by Brooklyn Museum (@brooklynmuseum) on

Read Full Article
Image Credit
Kehinde Wiley (american, Born 1977). 'napoleon Leading The Army Over The Alps,' 2005. Oil On Canvas, 108 × 108 In. (274.3 × 274.3 Cm). Brooklyn Museum, Partial Gift Of Suzi And Andrew Booke Cohen In Memory Of Ilene R. Booke And In Honor Of Arnold L. Lehman, Mary Smith Dorward Fund, And William K. Jacobs, Jr. Fund, 2015.53. © Kehinde Wiley. (photo: Brooklyn Museum), Jacques-louis David (french, 1748–1825). 'bonaparte Crossing The Alps (bonaparte Franchissant Le Grand-saint-bernard),' 1800–1. Oil On Canvas, 102 1/3 × 87 In. (261 × 221 Cm). Collection Of Château De Malmaison. (photo: Courtesy Rmn-gp)

Join Our Discussions on Discord

The HYPEBEAST Discord Server is a community where conversations on cultural topics can be taken further.

101 Users Online

What to Read Next

Cardo Links with Larry June and Payroll Giovanni for 'Game Related'
Music

Cardo Links with Larry June and Payroll Giovanni for 'Game Related'

From Detroit to San Francisco and back.

Studio 22 & CDI Furniture Join Forces for "Rose Bowl" Homeware Collection
Design

Studio 22 & CDI Furniture Join Forces for "Rose Bowl" Homeware Collection

Paying homage to designer David Levy’s Los Angeles upbringing.

Paul Insect to Drop Multilayered 'Together Alone' Print in Gold and Silver
Arts

Paul Insect to Drop Multilayered 'Together Alone' Print in Gold and Silver

Marking his third collaboration with Avant Arte.


G-SHOCK Introduces New GM-6900 Metal Bezel Watch to Commemorate 25th Anniversary
Fashion

G-SHOCK Introduces New GM-6900 Metal Bezel Watch to Commemorate 25th Anniversary

The legendary “Third Eye” G-SHOCK receives two new quarter-century editions.

Northern Codes with HAVEN Founders Arthur and Daniel Chmielewski
Fashion 

Northern Codes with HAVEN Founders Arthur and Daniel Chmielewski

The brothers talk about the beginnings of HAVEN and maintaining industry integrity for HYPEBEAST Magazine: The Kinship Issue.

H.E.R. Debuts Mellow Single "Sometimes" at 2020 Grammy Awards
Music

H.E.R. Debuts Mellow Single "Sometimes" at 2020 Grammy Awards

The singer was nominated five times at this year’s ceremony.

More ▾
 
Subscribe to our Newsletter

Gain access to exclusive interviews with industry creatives, think pieces, trend forecasts, guides and more.

By subscribing, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Help us serve you better

We noticed you are using an ad-blocker

We appreciate your support in allowing HYPEBEAST ads, where we can share contents from the latest fashion, to those culturally relevant. In adding HYPEBEAST to your ad blocker's whitelist, ads on our sites will show while you continue to browse.