1) View of the Coronation room, with Gérard's portrait of the Emperor
2) Appiani, Napoleon, King of Italy (Vienne, Kunsthistorisches Museum)
3) Gselhofer, Francis I, Emperor of Austria (Vienne, Heeresgeschichtliches Museum/Militärhistorisches Institut)
4) Gérard, Alexander I, Tsar of Russia (St. Petersburg, Hermitage Museum)
Based around the prestigious collections from a large number of French and German museums, public institutions and private individuals (including the Fondation Napoléon,1 the Musée du Louvre, the Musée de Malmaison, the Kunsthistorisches Museum, the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum and the Albertina in Vienna, the Musée de l'Armée in Paris, and the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, to name a but a few), the exhibition investigates the life and work of Napoleon, from his beginnings as a young artillery officer in training to his exile and death on St. Helena in 1821. More than four-hundred items have been assembled to guide the visitor along this fascinating story, which is divided into twenty-two “chapters”.
The exhibition remains faithful to the chronology of Napoleon's life, taking in the early military campaigns, his rise to power, the expansion across Europe and finally the Empire's collapse. Alongside these geopolitical and military concerns, the exhibition also throws light on his legislative and administrative reforms and introductions that he made. And, with the 1809-2009 bicentenary commemorations taking place this year, the important battles of Aspern-Essling and Wagram, Franco-Austrian relations, and the marriage of Napoleon and Marie-Louise all receive particular attention.
A well-realised educational programme also plays an important role in the exhibition, allowing younger visitors to follow the story in an interesting and stimulating manner. A large bivouac has also been set up to educate them on the daily life of soldiers on campaign, and every weekend will see military re-enactments take place in the castle grounds.
“Napoleon. Feldherr, Kaiser und Genie” is one of the most significant exhibitions organised on Napoleon in recent years and marks a high point in Austria's 2009 bicentenary celebrations of Napoleon's 1809 campaign. These celebrations continue this summer at the theatre festival that takes place in nearby Melk (5km from Schallaburg) where a version of War and Peace will be performed.
Click here for further information on the exhibition.
1) French and Russian uniforms in the Austerlitz room.
2) Hat worn by Davout (City of Auxerre) at the Battle of Auerstaedt, together (in exceptional circumstances) with his baton de Maréchal (St. Petersburg, Hermitage Museum), taken by the Russians in 1812.
3) Eagle from the flag of the 4th infantry regiment (St. Petersburg, Hermitage Museum).
4) Uniform belonging to Maréchal Ney (St. Petersburg, Hermitage Museum).
Goya, Disasters of War (Vienna, Albertina)
Begun in 1810, this series of aquatint prints, “Disasters of War”, was also known as “Fatal consequences of Spain's bloody war with Buonaparte. And other emphatic caprices”.
1) Isabey, The arrival of Marie-Louise in Compiègne (Paris, Fondation Napoléon).
2) Dress worn by the wife of Maréchal Davout (city of Auxerre) at the marriage of Marié-Louise and Napoleon.2
3) The Gobelins Manufactory, The Empress Marie-Louise (Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum).
4) The Sèvres Manufactory, decorated vase depicting the Roi de Rome's baptism (Paris, Fondation Napoléon).
1) Letter from Napoleon to Cambacères announcing the victory at Wagram, 7 July, 1809 (Collection Branda).
2) The Sèvres Manufactory, plate from the Emperor's personal dinner service: view of Melk Abbey (Paris, Fondation Napoléon).
3) A Russian officer coat worn by Napoleon upon his departure for exile on Elba (Vienna, Heeresgeschichtliches Museum/Militärhistorisches Institut).
4) The St. Helena exile room: camp bed and hat belonging to Napoleon (Paris, Musée de l'Armée).