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© Odile Decq architect / Felice Varini – Altitude 150
Presented for the first time in France, the exhibition entitled NAPOLEON: discovering a legend will open from 5 to 15 April 2012 at the Chorus Exhibition Park in Vannes.
Naploeon; discovering a legend is neither an anthology nor a depreciation of Napoleon Bonaparte.
The aim of the exhibition is not to rewrite the story of a man whose name is so intimately linked to the history of France and Europe but simply to present, in an impartial manner, the epic journey of a man who started from nothing, yet who would become an emblematic figure and establish the codes which govern the lives of more than 300 million people today.
The exhibition is a succession of different areas and rooms which, step by step, reveal the person and life of Napoleon Bonaparte:
- his childhood in Corsica, which had become French a few days before his birth on 15 August
- his time at the school in Brienne and then the Royal Military School which forged his strict upbringing and personal education,
- the Italian campaign during which he would make a name for himself by repelling the 1st foreign coalition aimed at re-establishing the monarchy, followed by the Egyptian campaign, which was an immense scientific success and for which Egypt is still grateful to France,
- the four years of the Consulate, a period of domestic peace and reorganisation, the most prolific in terms of texts, codes and other ideas which are still in application today,
- the women (Josephine de Beauharnais and Marie Louise of Austria, for the official records) and children (including Napoleon II "the Eaglet") that marked his life, the typical and luxurious furniture ("return from Egypt" and "First Empire"),
- the Coronation and its pomp, the consecration of the General become First Consul and
- the Great Army and its European campaigns to defend freedom and the Republican spirit inherited from the French Revolution against successive monarchical coalitions, but which would finally erode the great man's prestige,
- the fall, and the exile, first on the island of Elba then, after his return lasting 100 days on the continent, on Saint Helena, where he would die on 5 May 1821.
The exhibition presents 450 items and engravings, a lot of which are originals, as well as replicas; all items are accompanied by explanations and comments in a chronological layout adding knowledge, discovery and information to the enjoyment of a journey through our History.