About ExibitionFIVE STAGES OF THE TRIUMPH – OF A SOLDIER, GENERAL, CONSUL, EMPEROR AND EXILE, WHO BECAME A LEGEND!
For the first time ever in Poland, since 20.04 until 30.06. 2018, at the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw – the history of NAPOLEON BONAPARTE will come alive again! And the fact all that will happen we owe to the world exhibition telling us about the life and military career of an outstanding tactician and strategist who changed the history of mankind. This unique exhibition is the largest collection of authentic items once upon a time being the property of Napoleon which has ever been presented in Poland. The exhibits were borrowed from the rich and extensive collections of the Fondation Napoléon, and also the Musée de l’Armée Invalides in Paris. The entire exhibition is enriched by means of multimedia, which will make it possible for visitors to make themselves thoroughly acquainted with the history behind every single exhibit. The exhibition is a journey in time throughout FIVE STAGES OF THE TRIUMPH of the great BONAPARTE. We will learn about him as a soldier, general, consul, emperor, and finally as a exile. The journey begins together with the French Revolution in 1789, and ends at the moment of the death of Napoleon. For more than two centuries, the great Bonaparte has been regarded as one of the most interesting historical heroes, and the second-best known historical figure (the first being Christ).
At the exhibition, there will be Polish motifs as well, combining Napoleon with Poland and Poles, whose trust that their fight for independence under his leadership would be successful was very strong indeed. The Polish thread is connected as well with the person of the firstborn son of Bonaparte’s mother – Maria Countess Walewska, with whom Napoleon was in a romantic relationship for three years. The exhibition presents more than 100 one-of-the-kind exhibits from the times of the two empires. There are unique items being the property of Napoleon: personal belongings, clothes, arms, awards, furniture, documents relevant to various aspects of the life of this brilliant leader, from military strategies to triumphs and personal life. The collection presents also the most beautiful handicraft created by artists and craftsmen in the Napoleonic period: portraits, busts and sculptures. Owing to the innovative technology of face reconstruction, it will be possible to see the posthumous 3D cast of the face of Napoleon. The entirety of the collection will make the visitors better acquainted with the complex reality of the life of the Great Ruler, his habits and one-of-the-kind strategic talent.
Napoleon Bonaparte, as a figure on the scale of Alexander the Great or Julius Ceasar, was the personification of a great talent and strategic genius. He left a major imprint upon the history not only of entire Europe, but that of Poland as well. He was worshipped by Poles in the period of the existence of the Duchy of Warsaw. Napoleon regarded Poles extremely positively, and is known to have said: ’There is nothing impossible for my Poles’. On 22nd July, 1807, in Dresden, Bonaparte granted the Duchy of Warsaw a constitution, based upon French law. The Constitution abolished the serfdom of peasants, making this social group ’free’ people, and handing over the power over the Duchy to the nobility, and also (to a smaller degree) to townspeople. All the citizens gained equal legal status. In the second verse of our national anthem, Dąbrowski’s Mazurka (being the third one in the original manuscript), Józef Wybicki wrote: ’We’ll cross the Vistula, we’ll cross the Warta, We shall be Polish. Bonaparte has given us the example of how we should prevail.’
Death mask of Napoleon Bonaparte
The exhibition is also focused upon Napoleon as an innovator and the author of the legacy which shaped the future of Europe, and exerted influence upon the life of every single European. Commencing with the discovery of the Rosetta Stone (which gave rise to egyptology), first experiments with canned food, establishing the Bank of France, setting up secondary schools, drawing up the Civil Code and introducing the monitoring public finances, introducing the use of the right-hand lane in road transport and peace among religions, or assigning numbers of buildings which is used even today. The rich collection of the presented exhibits includes, among others, his legendary hat, which made his appearance immortal. It is said that the very sight of it from a distance was all that it took to strike fear into the heart of the enemy’s army. Other exhibits are the hunting rifle of Napoleon, his pocket watch, made of gold, silver, diamonds and pearls. An important exhibit is as well a vase fuseau from the china manufactory in Sèvres, which presents the coronation of Napoleon. A great value is also that of a set of dishes being part of the personal service of the Emperor. At the exhibition, it is possible as well to see, hitherto little known and rarely displayed in public, letters to Maria Countess Walewska, a Polish lover of Napoleon for several years (and the mother of his firstborn son). There are also notes from the lessons of English which Napoleon took while in exile. The remaining exhibits include, among others, unique and important Letters from General Bonaparte – from the times when he was a commander of the Italian army, and from those of the times of his power’s apex. The exhibition presents also the famous masterpiece, namely the painting ’The Battle of Marengo’ from the year 1801. A set of items of immeasurable value includes, as well, the original copy of the Code of Napoleon (French Civil Code) from the year 1804. Part of the exhibition is devoted to the twilight of his life which Napoleon spent on Saint Helena Island. Here, one can see, among others, a wisp of his hair, dental organizer, travel case (containing all toiletries) which was used by Napoleon at Austerlitz. The exhibition is crowned by the detailed reconstruction of the tomb of Napoleon, currently on display at the Musée de l’Armée Invalides in Paris, and attracting millions of visitors every year. At the Warsaw exhibition, many other authentic items, presenting the history of the life of Napoleon, are to be seen as well.
A few million of people of various age in five continents have already had the opportunity to see the historical exhibition NAPOLÉON BONAPARTE. This priceless collection emphasizes the enormous talent and military achievements of the Great Leader, as well as the details of his personal life. The exhibition is instructive and comprehensible, for younger visitors as well, in its presentation of the ambitious visionary, hero and strategist – conqueror. It is particularly in the year 2018 – Year for Independent, in which we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of regaining independence by Poland (after 123 years of partitions) that it is worth devotign time to reflect upon how varied and frequently tortuous roads led our ancestors to regaining independence. The presented exhibition is a perfect opportunity to become immersed into one of the episodes of this odyssey – in the period of the Napoleonic Wars, and the outstanding figure of Napoleon Bonaparte, who came from nowhere and became the greatest military genius of all times. He helped the nation out of the revolution, and transformed his country into an empire, to rule, at the apex of his career, 70 million people, and, ipso facto, changing the face of Europe.