Simon Meister was a pupil of Horace Vernet in Paris between 1821 and 1825, and whose style is clearly reminiscent in this fine equestrian portrait painted the year after he left Vernet's studio. Meister was to complete several full length equestrian portraits of Napoleon, for example in the Städtisches Museum, Simeonstift. The great popularity of images of the Emperor even during the Bourbon restoration provided a very ready market for such images.
Napoleon's stallion Marengo, was named after the great defeat of the Austrian army by the Napoleonic forces in 1800. Wounded eight times in battle, he also carried Napoleon into the battles of Austerlitz, Jena, Wagram and finally at Waterloo.
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