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Joséphine, Empress of France and patron of Redouté’s art

Joséphine, Empress of France and patron of Redouté’s art


Back in early 19th century France, Empress Josephine was known as a patron of arts, among them - the art of painting flowers. Pierre-Joseph Redouté was her court artists and created numerous paintings, designs and interiors, mainly for her chateau at Malmaison, outside Paris. 

Joséphine was born Marie Josèphe Rose Tascher de La Pagerie in 1763 and was the Empress of France as the first wife of Emperor Napoleon I. Later she married Napoleon, who proclaimed her as an empress. They remained married until 1810, when they divorced. 

Before meeting General Bonaparte, Joséphine was known as Rose or Marie-Rose, but this name fell out of use when Napoleon started calling her that way. She was born in the French colony of Martinique and moved to France to marry her first husband, Aleexandre de Beauharnais, who was guillotined during the Reign ot Terror. Marie was also imprisoned but later freed. She met Napoleon, six years her junior, in 1795 and they married thee next year. 

Napoleon was proclaimed as Emperor of the French in 1804, making Joséphine his empress. The official coronation ceremony was at Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral on 2 December 1804. 

Josephine and Napoleon divorced in 1810 and he married Queen Marie-Luise of Austria, who was also a patron of art. Empress Josephine kept her title and moved to Chateau de Malmaison, known for its unique rose garden and where Pierre-Joseph Redouté worked.