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The Caesar of Paris: Napoleon Bonaparte, Rome, and the Artistic Obsession that Shaped an Empire

The Caesar of Paris: Napoleon Bonaparte, Rome, and the Artistic Obsession that Shaped an Empire

by Susan Jaques


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A monumental cultural history of Napoleon Bonaparte’s fascination with antiquity and how it shaped Paris’ artistic landscape.

Napoleon is one of history’s most fascinating figures. But his complex relationship with Rome—both with antiquity and his contemporary conflicts with the Pope and Holy See—have undergone little examination.

In The Caesar of Paris, Susan Jaques reveals how Napoleon’s dueling fascination and rivalry informed his effort to turn Paris into “the new Rome”— Europe’s cultural capital—through architectural and artistic commissions around the city. His initiatives and his aggressive pursuit of antiquities and classical treasures from Italy gave Paris much of the classical beauty we know and adore today.

Napoleon had a tradition of appropriating from past military greats to legitimize his regime—Alexander the Great during his invasion of Egypt, Charlemagne during his coronation as emperor, even Frederick the Great when he occupied Berlin. But it was ancient Rome and the Caesars that held the most artistic and political influence and would remain his lodestars. Whether it was the Arc de Triopmhe, the Venus de Medici in the Louvre, or the gorgeous works of Antonio Canova, Susan Jaques brings Napoleon to life as never before.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781681778693
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 12/04/2018
Pages: 624
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 2.10(d)

About the Author

Susan Jaques is a journalist specializing in art. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA. She is the author of A Love for the Beautiful: Discovering America's Hidden Art Museums and lives in Los Angeles, California, where she’s a gallery docent at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Table of Contents

Introduction xi

Part 1 Directory 1

1 Triumphus 3

2 The Land of the Nile 22

3 Pontifex Maximus 38

Part 2 Consulate 53

1 The Etruscans 55

2 Caesar's Friend 70

3 Napoleon's Eye 85

4 Parish 100

Part 3 Imperium 117

1 Carolus Magnus 119

2 Charlemagne's Honors 133

3 The Sacre 145

4 King of Italy 162

Part 4 A New Rome 177

1 Columns of Conquest 179

2 Arches of Triumph 192

3 Temple to the Grande Armée 207

4 Coining an Empire 222

Part 5 Principate 235

1 Curia Regis 237

2 A Family of Kings 253

3 Venus Victrix 267

4 Carrara 280

Part 6 Capital of the Universe 295

1 Abduction 297

2 Trophy Wife 313

3 Breakfast with Napoleon 331

Part 7 Dynasty 349

1 The Eaglet 351

2 In Memorium 366

3 Mars the Peacemaker 380

Part 8 The Fall 393

1 The Golden Prison 395

2 Retrenchment 407

3 Funeral of the Empire 419

Part 9 Legacy 431

1 A Moral Lesson 433

2 Exiles and Heroes 446

3 Res Gestae 464

Postscript 479

Bibliography 481

Endnotes 507

Acknowledgments 553

Illustration Credits 555

Index 559

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