Exposition temporaire
“Plon-Plon, un Bonaparte rouge et or” 24 juin – 2 octobre 2023″

Prince Napoleon and the arts of his time : a « political taste »


Plon-Plon is proud to have made the arts essential elements of the french cultural influence when, as general commissioner for the first parisian Universal Exhibition, he decided to dedicate them a whole pavilion. Ingres, Delacroix, Vernet, Delaroche are pitted against the foreign schools’ masters.

As a keen enthusiast, he also collected ancient artefacts and old paintings which made him an italian art connoisseur, after all he viewed Italy as his second homeland.

19th century art is only a small part of this rich ensemble of antiques, weapons, books, souvenirs from the Empire, medals, all reflecting each and every one of his curiosities. The modern works of art he owns are fewer high quality and exhibited at the Palais-Royal or at the Pompeian House.

He proudly admires David – the great interpret of the Revolution who became fascinated by Bonaparte – Ingres and Delacroix, supports the « neo-greeks » and Gerôme while also paying attention to Courbet and the painters of the school of Barbizon, discovers Gustave Moreau…

His possessions are a testament to his eclectic taste, he who was elected as a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1857. He was able to understand the talents of his time and make choices of a political nature, like David’s Marat. For Prince Napoleon, this occupation as a collector is a way to showcase his identity : it allows him to satisfy a genuine taste for arts developed during his youth en Italy, to affirm his rank as well as his ideas and positions which are simultaneously political, social and esthetic.