Skip to contentSkip to navigation
Become a Member
Explore today's schedule
Visit MMFA for free by becoming a Member
Learn more
François-Pascal-Simon Gérard (1770-1837), Portrait of Napoleon, Emperor of the French, in Ceremonial Robes, 1805, oil on canvas. Château de Fontainebleau-Musée Napoléon Ier. Photo © RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY / Gérard Blot.
François-Pascal-Simon Gérard (1770-1837), Portrait of Napoleon, Emperor of the French, in Ceremonial Robes, 1805, oil on canvas. Château de Fontainebleau-Musée Napoléon Ier. Photo © RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY / Gérard Blot.
From February 3 to May 10, 2018

Napoléon

Art and Court Life in the Imperial Palace

Welcome to the Imperial Palace!

Discover a unique panorama of 400 art works and objects most of which have never been shown in North America and get a new perspective on this historical figure.

Organized and circulated by the MMFA, with the participation of Château de Fontainebleau and the exceptional support from the Mobilier national de France, this exhibition recreates the sumptuous ambience of Napoleon’s court from his coronation in 1804 to his exile in 1815. The exhibition brings together over 400 art works and objects, most of which have never been shown in North America. They are featured here thanks to some 50 distinguished lenders, including such institutions as the Louvre, the Château de Fontainebleau, the Mobilier national de France, the Musée national des châteaux de Malmaison et de Bois-Préau, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

François-Pascal-Simon Gérard (1770-1837), Portrait of Napoleon, Emperor of the French, in Ceremonial Robes, 1805, oil on canvas. Château de Fontainebleau-Musée Napoléon Ier. Photo © RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY / Gérard Blot.

François-Pascal-Simon Gérard (1770-1837), Portrait of Napoleon, Emperor of the French, in Ceremonial Robes, 1805, oil on canvas. Château de Fontainebleau-Musée Napoléon Ier. Photo © RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY / Gérard Blot.

Joseph Franque (1774-1833), The Empress Marie-Louise Watching Over the Sleeping King of Rome, presented at the Salon of 1812, 1811, oil on canvas. Musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon. © RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY / Daniel Arnaudet.

Joseph Franque (1774-1833), The Empress Marie-Louise Watching Over the Sleeping King of Rome, presented at the Salon of 1812, 1811, oil on canvas. Musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon. © RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY / Daniel Arnaudet.

François-Pascal-Simon Gérard, (1770-1837), Portrait of Louise-Antoinette-Scholastique de Guéhéneuc-Lannes, duchesse de Montebello, with her children, 1814, oil on canvas. Houston, Museum of Fine Arts, Museum purchase funded by the Brown Foundation, Accessions Endowment Fund and the Alice Pratt Brown Museum Fund. Photo © The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

François-Pascal-Simon Gérard, (1770-1837), Portrait of Louise-Antoinette-Scholastique de Guéhéneuc-Lannes, duchesse de Montebello, with her children, 1814, oil on canvas. Houston, Museum of Fine Arts, Museum purchase funded by the Brown Foundation, Accessions Endowment Fund and the Alice Pratt Brown Museum Fund. Photo © The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

You are invited to visit the six departments that made up the “Imperial Household”. The institution, with its 3,500 employees, was responsible for the daily lives and ceremonies of Napoleon and his family, and crafted his image as Emperor and as a “modern hero.” Its team of dignitaries, officers and artists in his service had a mission: to establish the decorum of a regime that would assert the legitimacy of the Bonaparte dynasty at the head of France, just a few years after the Revolution and the abolition of the Bourbon kings. An innovative layout re-creates the splendour of the apartments by incorporating mapping projections.

A unique occasion to discover paintings, sculptures, furniture, silverware and porcelain, tapestries, silk hangings and court dress illustrating the opulence characteristic of the Empire style displayed to serve the spectacle of power.

Napoléon : art et vie de cour au palais impérial

LOUIS-JOSEPH-FERDINAND HÉROLD, Paris 1791 – Neuilly-sur-Seine 1833, First movement (Largo-allegro molto) from Symphony No. 2 in D major (1814), Les Agrémens, Guy van Maas, conductor Ricercar, 7 min, Courtesy of Naxos of America, Inc.

Publication

The exhibition is accompanied by a 352-page catalogue, published in English and French by the MMFA’s Publishing Department, in collaboration with Les éditions Hazan, Paris, under the editorship of Sylvain Cordier. The graphic design is by Paprika (Montreal).

Credits and Curatorial

Napoleon: Art and Court Life in the Imperial Palace is organized and circulated by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, with the participation of Château de Fontainebleau and the exceptional support of Mobilier national de France. The exhibition’s curator is Sylvain Cordier, Curator of Early Decorative Arts, under the direction of Nathalie Bondil. The exhibition layout is designed in collaboration with Architem and Graphics eMotion, under the direction of Sandra Gagné.

Acknowledgements

This exhibition was made possible thanks to the generous support of the National Bank, in collaboration with Metro, Tourisme Montréal, Graphics eMotion and Mosaïque Surface. The Museum acknowledges the vital contribution of Air Canada, the Angel Circle of the MMFA and its media partners: Bell, La Presse + and the Montreal Gazette.

The educational area of this exhibition was designed in collaboration with the artist Laurent Craste and benefited from the valuable patronage of France and Raymond Royer in memory of Pierre Denis.

The Museum extends its thanks to Quebec’s Ministère de la Culture et des Communications and the Conseil des arts de Montréal for their ongoing support.

The Museum’s International Exhibition Programme receives financial support from the Exhibition Fund of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Foundation and the Paul G. Desmarais Fund.

The Museum would also like to thank its Volunteer Guides for their essential contribution, as well as all its members and the many individuals, corporations and foundations ̶ in particular the Fondation de la Chenelière, directed by Michel de la Chenelière, and the Arte Musica Foundation, presided over by Pierre Bourgie ̶ for their generosity.

We would also like to extend our gratitude to all those who, through their generous assistance, encouragement and support, made this exhibition and its scholarly publication possible.

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts logo
A presentation of
National Bank
In collaboration with
Métro
Tourisme Montréal
Graphics eMotion
France et Raymond Royer
Air Canada
Angel Circle
Bell
La Presse +
Montreal Gazette

An exhibition organized and circulated by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, with the participation of the Château de Fontainebleau and exceptional support from the Mobilier national de France. The Museum extends its thanks to Quebec’s Ministère de la Culture et des Communications and the Conseil des arts de Montréal for their ongoing support. The Museum’s International Exhibition Programme receives financial support from the Exhibition Fund of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Foundation and the Paul G. Desmarais Fund.

François-Pascal-Simon Gérard (1770-1837), Portrait of Napoleon, Emperor of the French, in Ceremonial Robes, 1805, oil on canvas. Château de Fontainebleau-Musée Napoléon Ier. Photo © RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY / Gérard Blot.

François-Pascal-Simon Gérard (1770-1837), Portrait of Napoleon, Emperor of the French, in Ceremonial Robes, 1805, oil on canvas. Château de Fontainebleau-Musée Napoléon Ier. Photo © RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY / Gérard Blot.

Joseph Franque (1774-1833), The Empress Marie-Louise Watching Over the Sleeping King of Rome, presented at the Salon of 1812, 1811, oil on canvas. Musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon. © RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY / Daniel Arnaudet.

Joseph Franque (1774-1833), The Empress Marie-Louise Watching Over the Sleeping King of Rome, presented at the Salon of 1812, 1811, oil on canvas. Musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon. © RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY / Daniel Arnaudet.

François-Pascal-Simon Gérard, (1770-1837), Portrait of Louise-Antoinette-Scholastique de Guéhéneuc-Lannes, duchesse de Montebello, with her children, 1814, oil on canvas. Houston, Museum of Fine Arts, Museum purchase funded by the Brown Foundation, Accessions Endowment Fund and the Alice Pratt Brown Museum Fund. Photo © The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

François-Pascal-Simon Gérard, (1770-1837), Portrait of Louise-Antoinette-Scholastique de Guéhéneuc-Lannes, duchesse de Montebello, with her children, 1814, oil on canvas. Houston, Museum of Fine Arts, Museum purchase funded by the Brown Foundation, Accessions Endowment Fund and the Alice Pratt Brown Museum Fund. Photo © The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

A touch of culture to your inbox
Subscribe to the Museum newsletter

Bourgie Hall Newsletter sign up

This website uses cookies in order to optimize your browsing experience and for promotional purposes. To learn more, please see our policy on the protection of personal Iinformation