Another exhibition in Paris: Napoléon, Symbols of Power

Empire style Josephine chair

Empire style Josephine chair

empire wallpaper

This should be another interesting exhibition (Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, until October 5, 2008.) See the slide show for a preview.

I have already mentioned Bonaparte’s deft handling of his own public image. He was also a micro-manager. No subject, however trivial, escaped his attention. He set out to reform not only the legal system, but also furniture design and female clothing (he found the prior fashions immodest.)

The result? Decorative arts as propaganda. A heavy, pompous neoclassical style dedicated to the celebration of the glory of the new ruler.  None of of the grace and refinement that had characterized the last years of the Old Regime, as exemplified by Marie-Antoinette’s taste.

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