• Joseph Franque, Empress Marie-Louise Watching over the Sleeping King of Rome, 1811. Versailles, France, Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon © RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY

NAPOLEON: Art and Court Life in the Imperial Palace

February 3 to May 6, 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 in 1804.

Napoleon: The Imperial Household 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 who ruled France following the Revolution, as well as 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 is another aspect of the Napoleonic saga that will be presented here, with more than 250 works in which the fine arts and decorative arts 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 Château de Fontainebleau and exceptional support from Mobilier national, Paris. After Montreal, the exhibition will travel to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, and will end its tour at the Musée national du château de Fontainebleau.