Rome, the last days of Napoleon Bonaparte in an exhibition at the Napoleonic Museum

In Rome, the Napoleonic Museum traces the last moments of Napoleon Bonaparte's life with a dedicated exhibition.

Napoleon Last Act. Exile, Death, Memory is the exhibition that the Napoleonic Museum in Rome is dedicating, from May 5, 2021 to January 9, 2022, to the extreme moments of Napoleon Bonaparte’s epic deeds, illustrating the events of the Emperor’s exile and death on St. Helena through an evocative visual narrative, constructed through prints, watercolors, and sculptural and numismatic effigies.

The exhibition is divided into four sections: St. Helena, the Last Island / Relics from Exile / “Il n’est plus” / The Return of the Ashes to Paris in 1840, and consists of about 85 pieces. The selected material comes entirely from the collections of the Napoleonic Museum.

The exhibition aims to enhance the significant core of objects related to the St. Helena years held by the Napoleonic Museum. The iconic funerary mask from the cast of the face taken by doctor Antonmarchi soon after Napoleon’s death and numerous “contact relics” stand out. These are valuable snuffboxes, board games, volumes from the library, fine textiles and clothing used daily by Napoleon during his last exile: memories, therefore, endowed with extraordinary historical and symbolic value. Napoleon himself was aware of this, so much so that he expressed in his will (a copy of which is on display in the exhibition) his wish, later disregarded, to bequeath these objects to his son, to whom they would transmit the essence of his spirit.

Interwoven with the visual narrative is the theme of Napoleon’s construction and transmission of the memory of his own history, evoked by the presence of documents and volumes, such as the specimen of the Saint Helena Memorial by Emmanuel de Las Cases owned by Napoleon’s son.

Napoleon’s to St. Helena and the other, backwards, of his ashes to Paris are journeys across the two hemispheres of the earth, “from one to the other sea,” one might say, borrowing and reinterpreting the Manzonian verse from the ode Il Cinque Maggio. The exhibition aims to follow the routes and illustrate the outcomes of these journeys, evoking their suggestions.

The exhibition, curated by Elena Camilli Giammei, is promoted by Roma Culture, Sovrintendenza Capitolina ai Beni Culturali. Organization by Zètema Progetto Cultura. On the occasion of the exhibition, the Friends of the Museums of Rome Association has generously funded the conservation maintenance of the prestigious series of lithographs depicting the Return of Napoleon’s Ashes to Paris in 1840, the focus of the concluding section.

For all information you can visit the official website of the Napoleonic Museum.

Rome, the last days of Napoleon Bonaparte in an exhibition at the Napoleonic Museum
Rome, the last days of Napoleon Bonaparte in an exhibition at the Napoleonic Museum

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