Egypt, the Fictive Theater of Napoleon's Glory: A Celebration of the Egyptian Campaign in Paintings, Architecture, and Decorative Arts
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The reign of Napoleon Bonaparte was one of military glory, both real and imagined. In this thesis, I examine the promotion of Napoleon's Egyptian campaign (1798-1801), perhaps the most disastrous episode of his military career. Nonetheless, he commissioned paintings in honor of the expedition. I examine some of them, focusing on the propaganda tactics deployed. I then consider how these strategies were applied to the Description de l'Égypte, the publication dedicated to the Egyptian campaign. I then explore the promotion of the expedition in the areas of architecture, interior furnishings and the decorative arts. I examine the selection of sources from ancient Rome and Egypt, exploring in particular interiors by Napoleon's lead architects Charles Percier and Pierre Fontaine. Finally, I examine the decorative arts commemorating the Egyptian campaign, analyzing the influence of the publication Description de l'Égypte. My contribution to this thesis is the expansion of the realm of inquiry to include paintings, architecture, urbanism, interior décor and decorative arts providing new insights into a project of propaganda which surpassed even the most powerful monarch Louis XIV.
Table of Contents
Abstract -- List of illustrations -- Introduction -- The Paintings of Bonaparte's military exploits in Egypt and Syria -- The Empire style: Egyptian and imperial themes in architecture, interiors, and the decorative arts -- Conclusion -- Illustrations -- Bibliography