Marshal Ney Supporting the Rear Guard During the Retreat from Moscow
First floor: Early 19th Century
179.8 x 301.0 cm
Marshal Ney Supporting the Rear Guard
During the Retreat From Moscow 1856
Adolphe Yvon 1817-1893
Oil on canvas
Yvon's painting represents the disastrous culmination
of Napoleon's Russian invasion of 1812.
Having led 450,000 men across the River Niemen
he was forced to turn back at Moscow,
which had been torched by retreating Russian forces.
The central figure is the French hero Marshal Michel Ney
who was given command of the army's rear guard.
Temperatures below -25°C killed as many as the enemy:
by December only 13,000 of the Grand Army remained.
Much of the anguish reflected by Romantic art
is rooted in the French Revolution
and the wars and political unrest which followed.
Transferred from the Royal Manchester Institution 1882.7