A pupil of David, Isabey enjoyed the unusual dual role of miniaturist to Queen Marie-Antoniette and post revolution court painter to Napoleon I. He became the most successful French portrait miniaturist in the early part of the nineteenth century, and was greatly favoured by the Empress Josephine, ensuring his success. Soon after the fall of the Empire and the death of Josephine, Isabey found himself without Parisian patrons, and left for Vienna. Returning to Paris, he later regained many patrons, and worked for a host of kings and emperors. In 1817, he was created a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, and in 1853 reached the rank of Commander. His son was the artist Eugène Isabey (1803-1886).
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