Jean Victor Moreau, the son of an advocate, studied law but at the outbreak of the Revolution commanded the volunteers from Rennes and served under Dumouriez in 1793. In 1794, he was made a general of the division. Under Pichegru, he took part in reducing Belgium and Holland. He drove back the Austrians to the Danube but was forced to defeat and in 1798, he took command in Italy and conducted the troops to France. The party of Sieyès which overthrew the Directory offered him the dictatorship but he declined it and lent his assistance to Napoléon in the coup d'état of the 18th Brumaire. He drove the Austrians back in 1800 and won the battle of Hohenlinden. Napoléon grew very jealous of Moreau and accused him of sharing in the plot of Cadoudal and sentenced him to two years imprisonment in 1804. The sentence was then turned to banishment and Moreau settled in New Jersey. In 1813, he joined the Russian service and accompaned the Russain attack on Dresden where a French canon ball broke both his legs. His legs were amputated but he died in Laun in Bohemia. He was buried in St. Petersburg.
A copy after Isabey's portrait, by Mansion, was in the Eugène Pap Collection, sold Christie's, London, 24 May 2000, lot 14.