IMPERIAL MATERIAL: NAPOLEON’S LEGACY IN CULTURE, ART, AND HERITAGE, 1821–2021

By Emily Paterson-Morgan

Online Workshop, 3rd September 2021

Napoleon Bonaparte died exactly two hundred years ago on a small island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. He had spent the last six years of his life in exile on St Helena, removed from political and military power, in the unusual situation of being able to try to shape and preserve his own posthumous legacy. He was, in a way, phenomenally successful. Napoleon is an instantly recognisable name to this day, and despite growing efforts in recent years to critically revise his reputation and highlight his role in issues such as the reinstatement of slavery, he has largely managed to escape the same level of historical censure as other infamous military dictators. This is perhaps partly because his name has become such an adaptable brand, standing for an entire era of people, places, and events, as well as a full two centuries’ worth of art, craft, and consumer commodities. While other events marking the bicentenary of Napoleon’s death have weighed his contributions to legislative, political, and military reform, less work has been done to confront his vast material, visual, and cultural legacy.

Napoleon’s death in 1821 prompted a frenzy of creation and circulation of materials …read more

Source:: https://www.bars.ac.uk/blog/?p=3683