Step inside the private world of Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821) for an upclose encounter with the propaganda machine that modernized and legitimized his reign as self-titled Emperor in the wake of the French Revolution. Corsican by birth and French by design, Napoleon was a man of continual reinvention—a minor nobleman and military general whose political ambition inspired his every move. Discover the exquisite works of art that crafted Napoleon’s image and the Imperial Household that supported his audacious rise to power. More than 200 works of art—many of which have never before been exhibited in the United States—reveal the intricacies of the Emperor’s daily life and the range of works commissioned by and for him. This exhibition of international loans includes major masterpieces of painting, an array of decorative arts, sculptures, engravings, and more—brought together from the Château de Fontainebleau, the Louvre, the Musée de l’Armée in Paris, and other world-class collections. Projection technology further enhances the spectacle by creating an experience that is innovative, immersive, and visceral.

Bust-Length Portrait of Napoleon in Ceremonial Robes, ca. 1805–14, Workshop of Baron François‐Pascal‐Simon Gérard, oil on canvas. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Ben Weider Collection. Photo MMFA, Christine Guest
Pair of Ice Pails with Elephant‐Head Handles, from the Greek Iconography Service Given to Cardinal Fesch in Commemoration of the King of Rome’s Baptism, 1810–11,Sèvres Imperial Manufactory, porcelain. Collection Comte et Comtesse Charles‐André Colonna Walewski, Geneva. Photo Thierry Genand
The Emperor’s Grand Vermeil, Pot à Oille and Tray, 1789–1804, Henry Auguste (1759–1816), vermeil. Château de Fontainebleau, musée Napoléon I (dépôt du Mobilier national). Photo © RMN‐Grand Palais /Art Resource, NY

Napoleon: Power and Splendor is organized, produced, and circulated by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts with the participation of Château de Fontainebleau and the exceptional support of Mobilier national de France. The exhibition program at VMFA is supported by the Julia Louise Reynolds Fund.

The exhibition is curated by Sylvain Cordier, Curator of Early Decorative Arts, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

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Altria Group

The Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Exhibition Endowment

The Julia Louise Reynolds Fund

Mrs. Frances Massey Dulaney

Mr. and Mrs. Fred T. Tattersall

Lilli and William Beyer

Mr. and Mrs. Achille Murat Guest

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph T. Knox

Peachtree House Foundation

Mr. and Mrs. James H. Price III

Additional ongoing support for VMFA’s exhibition program is provided by the Dr. Donald S. and Beejay Brown Endowment, the Council Exhibition Fund, and the Fabergé Ball Endowment.

Free for VMFA members, children 6 and under, active-duty military personnel and their immediate families, Virginia state employees, and teachers.

Virginia state employees may also purchase a family membership for $50

$16 for adults

$12 for seniors 65+

$10 for college students

$10 for youth (7–17) and students with school ID

Tickets can be purchased online or by calling 804.340.1405.

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