Winter – Spring 2018
Welcome to the Palace! The Imperial Household was a key institution during Napoleon’s reign. It was responsible for the daily lives of the Imperial family and the day-to-day existence of former general Bonaparte, who became Emperor Napoleon.
The exhibition aims to re-create the ambience and capture the spirit that prevailed in the French court during the Empire. A selection of works and objets d’art, most of which have never before been exhibited in North America, will reveal the Imperial Household’s role in fashioning a monarchic identity for the new emperor, his family and loyal entourage.
The Imperial Household consisted of six departments, each headed by a grand officer, a high-ranking dignitary of the Empire: the grand chaplain, grand master of ceremonies, grand marshal of the Palace, grand master of the hunt, grand chamberlain and grand equerry were each involved in orchestrating every minute of the pageantry in the Court. This exhibition includes more than 250 works of fine and decorative art that were used for purposes of ideology and official propaganda.
The exhibition is organized and circulated by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, with the participation of the Musée national du château de Fontainebleau.
François Gérard, Marie-Julie Clary, Queen of Spain, with Her two Daughters, Zenaida and Charlotte, 1808-1810. Château de Fontainebleau, France. Photo Jean-Pierre Lagiewski © RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY