Napoleon, the last act

from 05/05/2021 to 09/01/2022
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Title in Italian: Napoleone ultimo atto. L’esilio, la morte, la memoria

Napoleon, the last act

Dedicated to the final moments of Napoleon Bonaparte’s epic deeds, the Rome Napoleonic Museum’s exhibition aims to illustrate the events of the Emperor’s exile and death on St Helena through an evocative visual narrative, constructed using prints, watercolours and sculptural and numismatic effigies.

The exhibition is divided into four sections: St Helena, the last island / Relics from exile / “Il n’est plus” / The return of the mortal remains to Paris in 1840, and consists of around 85 pieces. The selected material comes entirely from the collection of the Napoleonic Museum.

The exhibition showcases the Napoleonic Museum’s remarkable collection of objects from the St Helena period. Highlights include the iconic funeral mask from the cast of the face taken by the doctor Antonmarchi immediately after Napoleon’s death and numerous ‘contact relics’. These include precious snuff boxes, board games, books from the library, fine textiles and items of clothing used daily by Napoleon during his final exile: memories, therefore, with extraordinary historical and symbolic value. Napoleon himself was aware of this, so much so that in his will – a copy of which is on display in the exhibition – he expressed the wish, later disregarded, that these objects be given to his son, to whom they would have transmitted the essence of his spirit.

The visual representation is combined with the theme of Napoleon’s construction and transmission of the memory of his own history, evoked by the presence of documents and volumes, such as the copy of the Mémorial de Sainte Hélène writtenby Emmanuel de Las Cases owned by Napoleon’s son.

Napoleon’s journey to St Helena and the return journey of his remains to Paris are journeys through the two hemispheres of the earth, “from one sea to the other”, one might say, borrowing and reinterpreting Manzoni’s line from the ode Il Cinque Maggio. The exhibition aims to follow those routes and illustrate the results of these journeys, evoking their suggestions.

The exhibition, curated by Elena Camilli Giammei, is supported by Roma Culture, Sovrintendenza Capitolina ai Beni Culturali and organised by Zètema Progetto Cultura. On the occasion of the exhibition, the Associazione Amici dei Musei di Roma has generously financed the conservation maintenance of the prestigious series of lithographs depicting the Return of Napoleon’s Mortal remains to Paris in 1840, the focus of the final section.

The exhibition is also accompanied by a series of cultural events.

Museo Napoleonico, Rome, Italy

Opening hours

From 5 May 2021 to 9 January 2022
Tuesday to Sunday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
24 and 31 December 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Last entrance half an hour before closing time
Closed on
Mondays, 1 January, 25 December

Always consult the NOTICE page before planning your visit to the museum.

Free admission

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