Napoleon. Life. Legend

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Friday, 20. December 2013 to Sunday, 9. March 2014

Grand exhibition "Napoleon. Life. Legend." is organized by the Association of the National Museum of the Grand Palace and Napoleon’s Fund as well; it specially arrived to Astana from Paris just before the end of France and Kazakhstan cross seasons.

300 exhibits have been specially selected for it from different national museums of France: from the Napoleon’s fund in Paris, Paris Army Museum, National fund of Paris furniture, the Bank of France, the Museum of Ajaccio, the Art Museum of the city of Rouen and the National Arts and Crafts store in Paris. Large pictures came from Versailles museum, and one of the most exclusive things, which is represented in this exhibition, belongs to the National Archives of France. This is Concordat signed by Napoleon and Pope. All of them tell us about the legendary era in the history of France, related to the one of the greatest rulers - Napoleon Bonaparte. Among them are works of art, personal belongings of the emperor himself, his family and entourage, documents and military paraphernalia.

At the exhibition you can see Napoleon's favorite hat, a style of which he preferred to all others and wore it all the time; Madame Berenger’s dress - spouses of state councilor, she wore this dress during the coronation of the Emperor of France; Josephine’s paperweight and personal belongings of the second wife of the Emperor - Maria Luisa. In addition, many paintings of artists of this era were presented at the opening day, among which David's "Coronation of Napoleon" is the real jewel of the exhibition.

Artifacts were grouped into the following sections in order to fully and vividly imagine the life and activities of Napoleon; each section was presented in different colors:
- Born in Ajaccio, an officer of the royal troops;
- The French Revolution;
- Napoleon Bonaparte, the general of the Revolution;
- Head of the State;
- Peacemaker and reformer;
- Imperial Family;
- Warlord;
- Exile and death;
- Birth of a legend.

Here is what Pierre Branda, Head of the Heritage Department of "Napoleon" Fund and co - curator of the exhibition said about it:

- First halls are decorated in light shades of gray, there are exhibits devoted to the family of Napoleon and his birth. There are also items that tell us about the French Revolution, for example, a small copy of the guillotine and, of course, the Declaration of Human Rights that was adopted in France.

Third room is yellow, almost golden as the sand in Egypt, where Napoleon accomplished a campaign, taking with him an army of scientific minds for research. Here is a picture that the French emperor presented subsequently to Josephine. There are depicted views of Egypt and its sights.

Red Room is one of the brightest and most representative, it dedicated to a luxury life at the imperial court. The next hall refers to war and military events of Napoleonic France. The last two halls are about the final stages of the life of the great commander and emperor.

Historians admit that the era, when Napoleon lived, was unique. It was the era of the French Revolution, the era of scientific discoveries and the birth of new talents among scientific and cultural life. They worked under Napoleon and for Napoleon. The emperor himself strongly encouraged them; he wanted to be great, fame, and not only on the battlefield, but also in the science and art areas. Now it is difficult to overestimate the influence of Napoleon on the further development of world culture. Many famous writers of the XIX century were children during the Napoleonic era; they saw him as children, they knew who he was. When they grew up and became writers, a romantic direction appeared in literature, such authors are: Victor Hugo, Balzac, Flaubert, Musset, Alexandre Dumas - they all brought up in the spirit of that time.

It turned out, that young Napoleon wrote novels and was known as a knight in relationships with women. Perhaps it is no coincidence that long after his imprisonment on the St. Helena Island, he was remembered and people started talking about him again. Real boom arose in memory of Napoleon; real fans exist, they saved even a lock of his hair as a relic. Later, after he died, fans appeared and not only among the French, but also among the British, Belgians, Germans, Italians and even Russians.

During the large-scale and unique exhibition, which became the finale of the cross season "France in Kazakhstan 2013", thousands of Astana inhabitants and guests visited it. Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan President also visited the exhibition "Napoleon. Life. Legend.", he saw the unique exhibits of cultural heritage of Napoleon Bonaparte, first introduced in Astana, the press service of the President informed.

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