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: The Age of Napoleon: Costume from Revolution to Empire, 17891815
(): Katell le Bourhis
: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
: 1989
ISBN: 8-87099-570-7
: 286
: English
: PDF
: 51 MB

The Napoleonic age, born in 1789 on the Place de Greve with the murder of the governor of the Bastille, lasted less than thirty years yet its impact was as wide-ranging as it was dramatic. The violent, tumultuous period that followed the French Revolution, as political groups acted and reacted against each other in quick succession, was clearly reflected in the arts of the time. One exciting aspect of this book and the exhibition it accompanies is that we are able to study first hand, in the clothing actually worn by people who lived through that period, the effects of these abrupt shifts in culture and society. In the costumes of this brief era we can see aesthetic tastes change from the cool Neoclassicism of the Enlightenment and the lavish formality of the Ancien Regime to the idealistic garb worn by revolutionaries and the bizarre outfits adopted by the counter-revolutionaries, only to observe the reemergence of elegance and luxury in the Consulat and the First Empire. The powerful individual who gave that Empire and era his name brought France back to her feet after the post-revolutionary period, not only militarily and economically but culturally as well. Along with his soldiers, Napoleon took artists and scientists to study the cultures he conquered politically and with them he breathed new life into French tradition. The grandeur that was Rome, the mysterious heritage of Egypt, the chivalric values of medieval Francethese were all exploited by Napoleon as he expanded his power abroad and enhanced his court at home.








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