The beginning of one of Napoléon Bonaparte’s earliest letters to Joséphine de Beauharnais simply oozes sensuality: “Seven in the morning. I awaken full of you…the…View More Transitory Spaces
Tag: Marie-Louise of Austria
I didn’t come across my first knowledge of Marie-Louise of Austria in France. I came across her former home in Parma, quite surprised to find a bit of Rococo style in Italy.
Emperor Napoleon I chose Marie-Louise of Austria as his second wife. The nobles are remembered in the Riserva Palace on Strada Melloni because Napoleon saw to it that his wife was given the duchies of Parma, Piacenza, and Guastalla when he abdicated the throne in the Treaty of Fontainebleau, making their son her heir as a part of the bargain. She took physical possession of her title in March of 1816.
Intricate symbols celebrating developments in music, theater, the arts and higher education floated upon the museum’s whispery pale aqua walls in bisque bas-relief. Cherubs were ubiquitous, as were oak boughs and ornamental shields festooned with Mercury’s helmet—all of these emblems of royal power perfectly maintained. A large portrait of the Empress painted by Robert Lefèvre in 1812 stood at one end of the room, depicting a young Marie-Louise posed in accordance with the strict canons of official portraiture. At the time it was painted, she was about midway through her brief four-year reign as the wife of France’s doomed leader.
His portrait, painted by François Gérard, and a Pierre-Paul Prud’hon painting of the couple’s sleeping son, Napoleon François Charles Joseph, were also displayed there. In the center of the room, flanked by the painting of the Empress and one of her evening gowns encased in glass, stood the Corbeille de Mariage, which Napoleon had given his fiancé as a symbol of his devotion when they became engaged. I will be exploring more of the Empress’ story in the years to come so check back in to see what else I unearth about this famous woman.
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Rococo Style in Italy
If I told you the most surprising thing I found in Parma, Italy, was France, would you think I’d lost my mind? I’m not speaking…View More Rococo Style in Italy