For some time I have had in mind to produce a range of representations of Napoleon, some as command bases and others as vignettes. Since we are in 2021, the very last of the Napoleonic bicentennial years, I have the impetus to make it happen.
Each of my representations will be based on or inspired by a famous painting.
On this two hundredth anniversary of the death of the Great Man, I have begun at the end with La Mort de Napoleon. This is inspired by the painting by Jean-Baptiste Mauzaisse of Napoleon on his death-bed, one hour before his burial.
|Napoleon sur son lit de mort une heure avant son ensevelissement, by Jean-Baptiste Mauzaisse|
|My version of same.|
I am not much of a modeller, but enjoy 'having a go' with the materials that I have to hand. In this case Napoleon's upper body, head and arms are from a Strelets figure (nominally of Joseph, but which, naturally, can easily be either he or Napoleon) while his legs I made from Das modelling clay. Marchand was created using one of the figures from the Imex Stagecoach set and the priest using the body of the lady from the same set (Das clay making up the rest of both of them). The bed was a matchstick and cardboard frame with liberal addition of Das clay.
I am happy enough with how it turned out—although my version of Marchand looks like he belongs on the set of Saturday Night Fever! I considered adding a frame and canopy to the bed, but was not sure how I would do it (and was worried how it might look), plus it meant extra effort for not much benefit and likely detraction. In the end I was swayed by a simpler version which better matched the painting.
So, that's one down and twenty to go.
The next twenty will be in a chronological order, beginning with 1796. Some years will get multiple representations while others won't have any. I want to get them all done this year and with 34 weeks remaining, I can't muck around.
I am pretty confident that I'll get them done as the next three are well underway and four of the later ones are completed or very nearly so.
|The next three Napoleons 3/4 done|
Once completed these representations will be invaluable for my long-term focus on
the quasquibicentennial / vigbicentennial (225th and 220th
anniversaries) of campaigns from 1796 to 1815, which began this year.
Sites of interest
1. The wonderful website of the Foundation Napoleon (napoleon.org) has a page entitled La Mort de Napoleon that is packed with links to articles and images (including the painting above).
They also have numerous events and articles for 2021 Année Napoléon.
2. Shannon Selin's blog on her website 'Imaging the bounds of history' is packed with thoughtfully produced articles about the Napoleonic era. I cannot recommend it too highly.
Her 'back catalogue' features several posts related to Napoleon's death including: