Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Museo Napoleonico, Rome

Commander Kelly at Museo Napleonico
Rome, Italy

"Dans le monde il n’y a qu’une alternative : commander ou obéir. On prétend que, pour bien savoir commander, il a fallu d’abord bien savoir obéir. Quelle erreur ! Je n’ai jamais obéi, moi, j’ai toujours commandé." (Napoléon Bonaparte)

"In the world there is only one alternative: command or obey. It is contended that, to know command, one must first learn to obey. What a mistake! I never obeyed, me, I always commanded." (Napoleon Bonaparte)

On the banks of the Tiber across from the Castel Sant'Angelo you will find the Museo Napoleonico -- one of the foremost museums in the world devoted to Napoleon I, the Emperor of the French.  You will find the link here...http://en.museonapoleonico.it/.

As the bicentennial of the battle of Waterloo in 2015 looms before us, Napoleon Bonaparte continues to fascinate the public.  More books have been written about Napoleon than any other person in human history with the exception of Jesus Christ.

Napoleon I
He sold us the Midwest
To the French, Napoleon was their moment of maximum glory.  To the Corsicans, he was their favorite son and...a traitor.  To Americans, Napoleon remains relevant (see earlier post Napoleon...Relevant Today, 5/20/12) if only because the Louisiana Purchase from Napoleonic France by President Jefferson accounts for 23% of all current US territory including ALL of the states of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma as well as parts of Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, Northern Texas and Louisiana.  To Europeans, Napoleon's legacy endures principally in the dream of a unified and centralized European Union and currency.  To the Russians, he was a proto-Hitler who invaded their nation and burned the holy city of Moscow.  To the British, he will always remain the tyrannical ogre who despised their "nation of shopkeepers," threatened their island home with invasion and then starvation, only to be defeated by their greatest martial heroes -- Nelson and Wellington.  

Napoleon in coronation dress
Museo Napoleonico, Rome
This museum has some of the finest paintings and other works of art associated with the Napoleonic era.  The museum was itself a gift made in 1927 by a Bonaparte descendant, Giuseppe Primoli (1851 - 1927).  The museum was inaugurated by Il Duce himself in 1934 (see video below in Italian) who sought to bask in the Emperor's shadow.

Napoleon I, 1769 - 1821
Napoleon  and the Bonaparte family had strong connections to Italy and to Rome.  Napoleon formed the Kingdom of Italy and became its first King in 1805.  Napoleon once said, "Io sono Italiano o Toscano, piutosto che Corso" ("I am more Italian or Tuscan than Corsican").  His family had roots in the Tuscan town of San Miniato (see earlier post San Miniato, Home of the Bonapartes, 12/2/12).

Pope Pius VII (1800-1823) being arrested by French troops in Rome
Napoleon's Roman connections run deep as well.  Napoleon, heir to the French Revolution, had stormy relations with the Vatican.  He sent French troops to arrest the Pope Pius VII in 1808.  Most of his family members, however, fled to Rome after his exile to St. Helena in 1815.
Pauline Bonaparte 1780 - 1825
By Joseph Kinson
Napoleon's favorite and prettiest sister was Paulina Bonaparte.  Her first husband was General Leclerc who died of yellow fever on Sant Domingue (now Haiti -- see my earlier post Toussaint L'Ouverture Champion of Freedom and ...Conservative?, 4/27/12).  Her only son, Dermide, died at age eight.  She later married a wealthy Roman, Prince Camilo Borghese (Villa Borghese gardens).  She was the only one of Napoleon's siblings to accompany him in exile to Elba.  She later lived in the Villa Paolina in Rome.  You will even find this model of Paulina's breast in this museum!

A model of Pauline's breast
For more tittilating tales about Napoleon's nymphomaniacal sister I recommend this blog...http://scandalouswoman.blogspot.co.uk/2008/05/notorious-pauline-bonaparte.html.

Napoleon's brother Lucien was considered the "Rebel" of the family (see earlier post Napoleon and the Rebel, 10/24/12).  Lucien the Republican politician helped Napoleon advance to power and Napoleon never forgave the debt.  You can find a portrait of Lucien, who lived for a time in Florence, here as well.
Lucien Bonaparte 1775 - 1840, by F.X. Fabre
There is a charming painting by Jacques Louis David of Napoleon's nieces.  For the full and tragic tale of Carlotta or "Charlotte" Bonaparte see my earlier post Napoleon Son of Tuscany, 11/29/12.

Zenaide and Carlotta Bonaparte, by by J. L. David

Commander Kelly says, "When in Rome, visit the Museo Napleonico and Vive Napoleon!"

Special Thanks to Matteo Pierattini and all the staff of the Palazzo Tornabuonni (http://www.palazzotornabuoni.com/en/default.asp) in Florence.

You can now purchase Commander Kelly's 
first book, America Invades here...www.americainvades.com or on Amazon...www.amzn.com/1940598427

And now Italy Invades: How Italians Conquered the World...
or on Amazon...
For the full Italy Invades package see...


P Scott Cummins said...

France has more need of me than I have need of France.
Napoleon Bonaparte

So I guess it makes sense that the Italians celebrate him with a museum!

Anonymous said...

I recommend Herbert Von Karajan's recording of symphs 4&5; Berlin Philharmonic, Deutsche Grammophon.

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