5 May 2021
6 September 2021
Through the many representations of Napoleon, what were the true traits of this legendary figure of French history?...
If there is one recognisable figure among all, with a long frock coat topped by a large bicorn, it is indeed that of Napoleon I. But behind these accessories, which are intimately linked in the collective memory to the Emperor's personality, and beyond these images that are so often reproduced, what were Napoleon Bonaparte's real features? Was he the fiery young man with the emaciated features of the victor of Marengo, the antique hero with the classical plasticity that appeared under the chisel of Canova? Only one image, realistic if ever there was one, that given by the death mask, which freezes for eternity, in the words of Malraux, "the permanence of Nothingness" and which exerts on us a "frozen seduction and fascinating serenity". Through the testimonies of his contemporaries, the portraits of the Bonaparte family, the multiple representations of the national hero, where is the true portrait? The exhibition offers a journey through the museum to discover Napoleon's face, following the evolution of his features throughout his life and even beyond, through his legendary image.