The Empire style of art occurred after the French Revolution and was characterized predominately by the art of two individuals: Louis David, the Neoclassical painter and Napoleon I. David controlled painting between 1789 and 1814. Napoleon because of his power over the people, made sure that the arts were dedicated to his glory. David was elected as a deputy to the Convention after the French Revolution, and he used his position to get the Royal Academy of Painters dissolved. He brought his followers together: Eustache Langlois, George Rouget, Francois-Xavier Fabre, Anne-Louis Girodet-Trioson, Barons Antoine-Jean Gros and Baron Francois Gerard. These artists leaned toward developing French art with classic ideals, using Greek art as a model. Even David's rival, Jean-Baptiste Regnault, was influenced by David's school.
The Neoclassicists used Roman history to portray contemporary events. Guerin's "Return of Marcus Sextus" (Paris, Louvre) and David's "Sabine Women" (1799, Paris, Louvre) are excellent examples of this style. Gros was one of the first to use Napoleon as a subject; his "Napoleon on the Bridge at Arcola" (1796; Paris, Louvre) started another trend in subject matter. Napoleon himself decided to institutionalize art by organizing the Institute des Beaux-Arts, for example. He began commissioning artists to do works for and about him and his family, David's "Coronation of Josephine" (1805-7; Paris, Louvre), Girodet's "Napoleon Receiving the Keys of the City of Vienna (Versailles), Gerard's "Signing of the Concordat", and Gros' "Napoleon at the Battle of Eylau" (1808; Paris, Louvre) being only a few of the many major works he commissioned. Portraits of the entire royal family were also done in great numbers. French architecture also blossomed during the Empire period. The metal footbridge of the Pont des Arts, the Cour du Carrousel, the Halle au Ble, the renovation of Malmaison, the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, and the Colonne Vendome were all built during this period. Major architects were Charles Percier, Pierre Francois Fontaine, Alexandre Theodore Borngniart, and Jean-Francois Chalgrin. Sculptors included as Jean-Antoine Houdon, Joseph Chinard, Denis Antoine Chaudet and Pierre Cartellier, They used bronze, unglazed Sevres porcelain and designed and built beautiful furniture.