l.: DANGEROUS cover by Michael Jackson from 1991 in which Napoleon I is hidden. DANGEROUS was painted by Mark Ryden. (SONY Music) source
A dog, that expresses power, is portrayed on the DANGEROUS cover by Michael Jackson from 1991. This dog, that is simultaneously a king, was already identified as „MJ“:
The representation of the king (here: in a hound dog´s shape) is based on another painting: Napoleon I on his imperial throne. The original image is the portrait of a man who crowned himself and the role model for Michael Jackson on his royal throne.
„MJ“ Michael Jackson and Napoleon I on the imperial throne
Napoleon I is the one on the right picture…
The right picture is titled „Napoleon I on his imperial throne“ and was painted in 1806 by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres.
r.: foto taken by author from source
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres painted the picture of Napoleon I in 1806. Ingres, born in 1780, does not only share the same motive on DANGEROUS with Michael Jackson, but also day and month of his birth, the 29 august.
What a coincidence.
Michael Jackson and Napoleon I: Halo. Immortality. Manhood and Perfection
In 1806, Napoleon I was glorified with royal insignias by Ingres. In 1991, Michael Jackson, in a dog´s shape, was glorified with royal insignias on the DANGEROUS cover by Ryden. Semicircles are representing halos, perfection, manhood and immortality already in the original. Napoleon I, according to Ingres‘ painting, should be a winner and illuminator of the world. Napoleon I was presented as a divine majesty, surrounded by the halo of rays … like god? 1, 2, 3.
Or a poser.
There are not many differences between the painted Jackson and the painted Napoleon I. To mention here would be the laurel wreath and the second glove on the left hand. Any magical spark is missing on the glove on Napoleons right hand, while Jackson waives both, the ornate sword of the Frenchman and the scepter of Charles V, just as he waives the carolingian eagle.
Jackson and Napoleon I and … by Zeus! Now Jupiter as well!
But not only Napoleon I is hidden in the dog, who is a king, but also god Jupiter. Because the painter Jean-Auguste Ingres painted Jupiter as well and Napoleon´s portrait looked astonishingly similar to the one of Jupiter.
„I love […] Ingres.“Mark Ryden, the DANGEROUS painter. 4
So Jackson had besides Napoleon also Jupiter as a role model and the god does not only share the sandal with him.
Next to the dog-king, who represents power and glory, are a jackal and a bird, the ibis. They occupy the space, where in the original painting the goddess Thetis and the imperial eagle can be located.
Talking about the eagle: Jackson did use it´s symbolic power long before the creation of the DANGEROUS cover: the eagle is the symbol of immortality, a sign of bravery, strength and vison. The eagle represents the ascent to heaven, overcoming the earthly and the redemption of the soul. The eagle is the king of the air and the messenger of the highest gods. 5
Michael Jackson´s Imperial Eagle. Military. Gods. Immortality and Power
Zeus is his greek predecessor and had the imperial eagle by his side. Jupiter, Zeus‘ successor, brought the imperial eagle to Rome. Roman emperors used the symbol of the eagle as a sign of power, Napoleon copied it on paintings and furniture and Jackson wear it on belts, jackets, album covers, side by side with the star.
And not only in his movies Jackson celebrated his own arrival with the imperial eagle.
Jackson wore the eagle on his belt and on his leather jacket at the latest after he conquered the world with the album THRILLER. In 1995, in one of the first images, he showed the eagle on a pillar in his HIStory-Teaser. The HIStory-Teaser is that kind of movie by the King of Pop, in which he shows all possible military signs to celebrate his comeback.
The eagle symbolizes immortality, strength and stamina. It is the connection between humans and god. It accompanies gods and also those humans, who thought they were gods. The eagle is the symbol of christ, he looks up at the sky and into the sun as he ascends and symbolizes resurrection. 6, 7
left first row: 1995 the imperial eagle on the triumph column in the HIStory-Teaser, 1995 source
left second row: Jackson had in the mid-1980s the eagle illustrated on his belt and on his jacket by his designers Thompkins/ Bush in the mid-1980s. source
Immortality, Power and the connection between man and God
Lightnings. Zeus. And Michael Jackson
Zeus‘ weapon is the lightning and Michael Jackson too hurled the lightning in his role as Captain Eo in 1986 and in his role as the maestro in MICHAEL JACKSON’S GHOSTS in 1996. 8
Since 1992, Jackson also opened his concerts while hurling lightnings. Live on stage. Zeus would certainly have done the same. 9
- Grimme, Karin H, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, 2007, Taschen, Köln, page 65
- Hamilton, A. C., The Spenser Encyclopedia, 04.1991, ROUTLEDGE CHAPMAN & HALL
- Lurker, Manfred, Wörterbuch biblischer Bilder und Symbole, 1973, translation:„The Lord of armies himself is seen in the image of the round one, in a figurative sense it is said that he becomes „a crown of glory, a fair ornament“ (Jes 28,5). The throne of the divine majesty is sorrounded by a „colorful corona“ …“. Kösel Verlag Gmbh & Co.KG, Munich, page 205
- MJFC, MJFC. 2001, http://www.michaeljacksonmasterworks.com „To BECOME an artist I only really used my own instinct but AS an artist I have many, many influences. I am heavily influenced by classical art. I love David and Ingres. I also took quite a hit at the imagery of contemporary pop culture.“, http://www.michaeljacksonmasterworks.com/michael-issues-12/
- Prette, Maria Carla, Was ist Kunst? Bauwerke, Skulpturen, Gemälde, Epochen und Stile erkennen und verstehen, De Giorgis, Alfonso. 1999/2005, published by Kaiser, page 359
- Lurker, Manfred, Wörterbuch biblischer Bilder und Symbole, 1973, Adler, Kösel Verlag Gmbh & Co.KG, Munich, page 25/26
- Preller, Ludwig, Römische Mythologie; Kindle Edition, 1858, Weidmannsche Buchhandlung, Berlin.
- Jacksons 38-minutes-long short film from 1996. A short version can be seen here: https://youtu.be/Xh9Cp4rd7mI?t=39
- 1_Note: Jackson opened his concerts for the DANGEROUS worldtour since 1992 with JAM: every time he points with his hand, the stage explodes in a firework. With a „bundle of lightnings“ he brings them to new life. During the HIStory – Worldtour in 1996/1997 he goes on with this tradition.