Napoleon's Plunder and the Theft of Veronese's Feast
Napoleon's Plunder tells the remarkable story of Bonaparte's obsessive accrual of the spoils of war - his hoarding of art, artefacts and treasures from across the world, ostensibly taken for the French nation, but also very much for his own personal aggrandisement. For as his conquering army cut a swathe through Europe and North Africa, Napoleon demanded of his defeated enemies their most valuable statues and paintings. And the Emperor wanted nothing but the best, directly targeting the most magnificent works of the High Renaissance - the sculptures of Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo, the paintings of Raphael, Titian and Veronese. This unrivalled haul was placed on display in in the Louvre, the former palace of the French kings which Napoleon transformed into the greatest museum in the world - a museum that professedly belonged to the French people, but which was, too, a monument to Napoleon's power. In a wonderful narrative voice, Cynthia Saltzman interweaves the stories of Napoleon's military campaigns, uncovering the intricate negotiations through which he obtained his loot, with the histories of the plundered works themselves, exploring how these great masterpieces came into being. As much as a story of military might, this is an account of one of the most ambitious cultural projects ever conducted. The author ends with a reflection on the nature of art collecting in the past and the controversy surrounding the provenance of art today.
Publication Date: 01-May-2021
Publisher: Thames & Hudson, Limited