The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Napoleon Bonaparte, 1769-1821

Nationality: French
Date of Birth: 1769.08.15
Place of Birth: Ajaccio, Corsica
Date of Death: 1821.05.05
Place of Death: St Helena


Napoléon Bonaparte was Emperor of France and a patron of the arts.


Napoleon was First Consul from 1799 and Emperor from 1804. He appreciated the propagandist potential of art, and revived state patronage, commissioning works of art by artists and sculptors such as Antonio Canova, Jacques-Louis David, Antoine-Jean Gros, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Anne-Louis Girodet and François Gérard. He sought to make Paris the artistic capital of the world. In 1806 he moved the Académie des Beaux-Arts and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts into the Collège des Quatre-Nations in Paris, and the Académie de France in Rome to the Villa Medici. He created academies in Italy and elsewhere and founded galleries in Amsterdam, Milan, Venice and Madrid. In France he established the Musée Napoléon, founded in 1803 in the Palais du Louvre. Vivant Denon, Napoleon's artistic advisor, was appointed Director-general of the Imperial Museums in 1802.


Maison, Françoise, 'Bonaparte', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, (accessed 04 July 2003) ; Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford, 2004.