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Title: Napoleon visits the Napoleon room in the infirmary of the Hôtel des Invalides.
Author : VERON-BELLECOURT Alexandre (1773 -)
Date shown: February 11, 1808
Dimensions: Height 183 - Width 248
Technique and other indications: February 11, 1808. He is accompanied by Marshals Berthier, Duroc, Murat, Serrurier, and the doctor from Les Invalides, Coste Oil on canvas History: purchased at the Salon of 1812 (n ° 958); Hôtel des Invalides, 1813; Reserves of the Louvre, 1824; entered Versailles under Louis-Philippe
Storage location: National Museum of the Palace of Versailles (Versailles) website
Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - D. Arnaudet / J. Schormans website
Napoleon visits the Napoleon room in the infirmary of the Hôtel des Invalides.
© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - D. Schormans
Publication date: January 2004
The wounded were a constant concern of Napoleon, although in reality he did little to alleviate their distress. Percy, chief surgeon of the Grand Army, inventor of the famous "Würsten" (sausages) designed to evacuate the wounded as quickly as possible from the battlefield, Larrey, surgeon of the Imperial Guard, were among the most devoted of the doctors of the 'army. In February 1808, Napoleon came, accompanied by doctors and generals, to visit the great military hospital created by Louis XIV and then managed by Jean-François Coste (1741-1819), army doctor, former mayor of Versailles.
Followed by Marshal Sérurier, governor of Invalides, Berthier and Murat, Duroc, Grand Marshal of the Palace, and Larrey, Napoleon addresses Coste who lifts a wounded man, while invalids decorated with the Legion of Honor are hurry on their way. In this infirmary where care is provided by nuns, the wounded are lying in beds aligned in a sober and bare room. On the beams, we read “Napoleon Room”.
The composition is skillful. The group, coming from the back to the right, turns in front of a bed to the left, and Napoleon's arm directs the spectator's gaze towards a wounded man dressed in a white shirt, the only bright spot in this painting very restrained in its expression of feelings. . However, it is less the wounded who are highlighted than the Emperor and his marshals. The invalids of the right side take off their caps or raise their hands as in a prayer to their god, Napoleon, to whom they owe everything.
Like most paintings of Napoleon, this work primarily serves the cult of the hero. This clumsy painting, in which the figures were obviously painted from mannequins, received a gold medal at the Salon of 1812. As the Grand Army was disappearing in the snows of Russia, it was necessary to recall the humanity shown by the Emperor towards the soldiers devoted and sacrificed to his cause. It was not yet a question of criticizing Napoleon's excesses, but always of propaganda and of flattering himself.
- Bonaparte (Napoleon)
- napoleonic wars
- Murat (Joachim)
Jean Tulard, Alfred Fierro and Jean-Marc LériThe History of Napoleon through paintingParis, Belfond, 1991.
To cite this article
Jérémie BENOÎT, "Napoleon's visit to the infirmary of the Hôtel des Invalides"