However, the composition of the painting The Battle of Austerlitz (Plate 9.17), although rather broad and balanced, is nonetheless complicated with Gérard showing his limits as a history painter. The subject of the painting is a moment of solemn victory against the Russian and Austrian armies in Austerlitz however, it does not show the heat of battle, but rather the moment when news of the victory was brought to Napoleon. One can see Napoleon Bonaparte to the right of the painting. Napoleon is wearing his bicorn hat,serenely and rather proudly sitting upon his white statuesque steed. One must also note too that Napoleon Bonaparte is raised above the rest of the assembly perhaps like an Olympian of Greek/Roman heritage. General Rapp from the French Army is presenting Napoleon Bonaparte with the standards which were taken from the enemy, the Russian Imperial Guard. The standards in the background to the left of the painting are carried by the Marmalukes who fought with Napoleon Bonaparte’s French army. General Rapp has his right arm outstretched presenting these standards to Napoleon Bonaparte. One can argue. Both Napoleon Bonaparte and his horse are as one - stony and without any kind of expression. Thus perhaps a quasi-divine being , beyondhuman emotion.
Ones eye is drawn to the aloofness of Napoleon Bonaparte who is both unscathed and without care Napoleon’s horse can also be included in this description although it is rather wild eyed and pawing at the ground with its right hoof. The colour tones of this painting are rather dark in the foreground and among the soldiers in the background to the right of the painting. One could say this gave Napoleon and his horse a theatrical appearance. In addition, the other soldiers on horseback who are amassed on the right are paying close attention to Napoleon Bonaparte and General Rapp, their eyes focused on the two main characters. The French army seem relatively calm and orderly, whereas, the central space within the painting is bright in a dramatically theatrical sense, which helps capture the audience/viewers thoughts and feelings on this painting. One can perhaps assume the arrangement of the characters within the painting offer a sense of dramatics and heroism on both sides of the campaign.