Sketch for the painting “Le Belleser” (Belisarius)
Baron François Gérard - c. 1805-6
Baron Gérard dedicated this sketch to Talleyrand. It depicts 6th-century General Belisarius, who was one of the greatest military leaders of his time. His success brought him enemies though, and he was incriminated in a plot against the Emperor Justinian. For this, Belisarius was ordered blinded and stripped of all his possessions, reducing him to a beggar in the streets of Byzantium, where he had once commanded Roman armies.
Historical Provenance - Castle of Valençay collection