NAPOLEON

ART AND COURT LIFE IN THE IMPERIAL PALACE
Last chance to see this exhibition!
Now extended by three days: May 8, 9 and 10, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

From February 3, 2018 to May 10, 2018

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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.

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.

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.

Cultural Activities

Consult our cultural calendar to learn more about the lectures, films and musical activities presented by the Arte Musica Foundation in connection with the exhibition Napoleon: Art and Court Life in the Imperial Palace.

Le Petit Napoléon

A Fun Place for Families

Produced in collaboration with artist Laurent Craste, this 70 m2 area explores the theme of the power of image and the depiction of ego. In the gallery of mirrors, visitors come face to face with their own image, at times multiplied or distorted by numerous reflective surfaces in different sizes. Then there is the throne room, complete with a larger-than-life throne, designed especially for the occasion. This temple to glorification is surrounded by various drawing benches for self-portraits, created entirely in the style of the time.

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).

Audioguides and guided tours

Enhance your experience with an audioguide or a guided tour!

A new experience in audioguide listening!  Take a journey to the past accompanied by a contemporary journalist who’ll interview certain staff and colleagues of this historical giant. It’s a virtual behind-the-scenes look while listening to people who worked in the household. All taken from true to life memoirs and biographies these individuals wrote after the end of the first French empire. Not to miss!

You can also access the audioguide from the MMFA app

Get it on Google Play

For the schedule of guided tours, see the Cultural Calendar

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.

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.