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The marriage between Marie-Louise, House of Habsburg-Lorraine (1791–1847), and the divorced Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821) presented several iconographical challenges to contemporaneous artists. They needed to convey Marie-Louise's fundamental importance to the imperial regime without marginalizing Napoleon's positions as monarch and founder of a new dynasty. The resulting artistic innovations portrayed a culturally engaged queenship, one that emphasized Marie-Louise's abilities to paint and draw while underscoring her potential power of dynastic creation, thanks to her rich Habsburg bloodlines. Through an analysis of paintings created during the first year of the imperial marriage, this study provides insight into the life of Marie-Louise and other aristocratic women who navigated essential, if sometimes invisible, roles in the political sphere.