‘Napoleon Crossing the Alps’, by Paul Delaroche
Napoleonic subjects were proscribed for artists after 1815. But as Napoleon’s reputation was gradually revived, particularly after 1830, it became possible to once again make pictures of the Emperor. There were many Bonapartists in France and the return of Napoleon’s remains from St Helena to Paris in 1840 was an extremely popular event.
State commissions for art celebrating French military achievement and glory generally could now accommodate Napoleon’s victories as well as, say, those of Louis XIIII. Perhaps surprisingly, there were many admirers of Napoleon in Britain, associating his memory either with enlightened progress in opposition to reactionary monarchy or alternatively with military genius. His brutal suppression of nations, huge military losses and genocidal colonial policy were somehow glossed over.
Free gallery talks Wednesday 4 and Thursday 19 January, 1pm.
Full details on the Walker website