The next best thing to seeing Jacques-Louis David’s Bonaparte Crossing the Alps (1800–1) and the painting it inspired two centuries later—Kehinde Wiley’s Napoleon Leading the Army over the Alps (2005)—united in Bonaparte’s historic home, where they were displayed last year, is seeing them side by side at the Brooklyn Museum, home to Wiley’s painting. The works share the same basic composition, but each portrays the unique political and artistic landscape of its time. David envisions Napoleon as an elemental historical force; Wiley, the Nigerian-American artist commissioned to paint Barack Obama’s presidential portrait in 2017, evokes the power of an unnamed black man, rendered in his signature Photo Realist style. —J.V.
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