Napoleon’s Legacy in Painting and Sculpture
This program will feature images of Napoleon in painting and sculpture, from heroic idealizations dating back to the French emperor’s rise to power to somber paintings chronicling his ultimate defeat following the unsuccessful Russian campaign. The latter was commemorated in Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, first performed in 1882, a celebration of Russia’s victory over the French imperial invasion. Depictions of Napoleon spanned a range of artistic movements and styles, from the neo-classical, in stirring paintings by Jacques-Louis David and sculpture by Antonio Canova, to Romantic masterpieces of Napoleonic victories by Antoine-Jean Gros and Pierre-Narcisse Guérin. Decades later, painters such as Ernest Meisonner chronicled Napoleon in defeat in a more naturalistic style, in startling contrast to the stirring portrayals earlier in the century.
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