Napoleon Nude


In 1811, right before that triumphal and then funeral march across Russia, Napoleon saw himself carved in marble by Canova. “Why couldn’t you carve me wearing clothes?” The colossal nude statue annoyed him: to any competent middle-aged administrator to be portrayed as a youthful athlete would seem absurd. Neoclassicism certainly is an awkward movement, especially in sculpture. Denon, the first curator of Louvre, wanted the three-meter colossus at the entrance into the museum. Napoleon did not, “When you carved me on a horse I wasn’t naked!” Ridiculous — there he still stands just like that — enormous, naked, unloved — not a hero, but a prisoner of war, not in the middle of a gallery, but as a trophy at his enemy’s house, at Duke Wellington’s residence in London, by some stairway to somewhere.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Napoleon. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s