Baron François Gérard was born and spent his early childhood in Rome as part of a diplomatic family. The family returned to Paris when he was twelve and in 1796, he joined the studio of Jacques-Louis David. He became known as a portraitist and is best remembered for his painting of Madame Recamier (1815), now in the Musée Carnavalet. Following the downfall of Napoleon (from whom he had received numerous commissions) Gérard was introduced to Louis XVIII in 1815, who appointed him the official royal painter. This position allowed the artist the opportunity to portray many notable European heads of state. In 1819, he was created a Baron and was also one of the first Knights of the Ordre Royale de la Légion D’honneur.
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