Napoleon and the arts

Napoleon and the arts

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  • Denon living room ceiling - Overview.

    MULLER Charles-Louis (1815 - 1892)

  • Denon living room ceiling - detail.

    MULLER Charles-Louis (1815 - 1892)

To close

Title: Denon living room ceiling - Overview.

Author : MULLER Charles-Louis (1815 - 1892)

Creation date : 1864

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: oil painting

Storage location: Louvre Museum (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palaissite web

Picture reference: 77DN2802

Denon living room ceiling - Overview.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais

Denon living room ceiling - detail.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais

Publication date: March 2016

Historical context

The Denon pavilion is part of the improvements carried out at the Louvre during the reign of Napoleon III. The glasses that Charles-Louis Müller made here illustrate the patronage of French sovereigns.

Image Analysis

At the center of the composition, Napoleon spreads his arms in a gesture of presentation of the artists with whom he is surrounded. At the back of the stage, the famous monuments of his reign. The silhouette of the sovereign stands out against the triumphal arch of the Carrousel (1806), crowned by the horses abducted by Bonaparte from St. Mark's Basilica in Venice. On either side of the arch, the restoration of the Saint-Denis abbey by François Debret and the Vendôme column. On the right, the facade of the National Assembly. Works of art dot the painting. On the left, the Voltaire assis by Jean-Antoine Houdon, produced under the Ancien Régime; loot seized for the Napoleon museum: the Virgin by Raphaël, the Torso from the Belvedere. Napoleon is also surrounded by famous people of his time. Writers: Beaumarchais, Châteaubriand; architects: Fontaine, Lamande; painters ; David, Guérin.


The four glasses in the Denon salon are represented as feigned tapestries. They represent royal or imperial patronage to the fine arts. Napoleon I, like other sovereigns, was surrounded by writers and artists. The Emperor's taste for Greco-Roman classicism is manifested in a good number of architectures built during his reign: the triumphal arches of the Carrousel (Percier and Fontaine) and of the Star (Chalgrin), the Vendôme column, imitated of Trajan, the temple of Glory (the Madeleine) built by Vignon. Passionately attached to the greatness of ancient Rome, Napoleon largely exploited its symbols and decor to found his authority and legitimacy. The neoclassical style, after having been a reaction to excess rocailles at the end of the 18th century, became the vector of moral values ​​resulting from the Enlightenment and taken over by the Empire.

  • architecture
  • Louvre
  • Museum
  • Bonaparte (Napoleon)
  • Napoleon III
  • Paris
  • patrimony
  • Alive Denon (Dominica)
  • St. Mark's horses


Nancy DAVENPORT "Charles-Louis Müller and his painted decorations of the Louvre", in Bulletin of the Society for the History of French Art 1986, p.145-163.Christiane AULANIER History of the Louvre Palace and Museum.The new Louvre of Napoleon III Paris, 1953.

To cite this article

Nathalie de LA PERRIÈRE-ALFSEN, "Napoleon and the arts"

Video: Napoleon III-The Splendor of Napoleon Bonapartes Apartment in Louvre, Paris