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Napoleon's Medals: Victory To The Arts

This is a numbered, limited edition of 1,000 copies. There will not be another printing. During his time in power Napoleon Bonaparte commissioned hundreds of medals to be struck to mark the course of his reign; from conquests, successful treaties, and marriage, to the introduction of the smallpox vaccination and an unsuccessful attempt on his own life. Napoleon’s Medals sheds light on this neglected artistic achievement; how Napoleon’s artists displayed the stolen art from his Italian campaign on the medals to glorify his conquests, and used classical models to clothe him with heroic attributes. No previous publication has combined both detailed commentary and colour illustration in addressing this fascinating topic. Richard A. Todd provides a history of Napoleon’s reign through the medallions themselves, aided by insights from Napoleon’s letters, those of his artistic director Vivant Denon, and Le Moniteur, the newspaper of the day.

Hardcover: 224 pages

Publisher: The History Press; Limited Edition edition (July 1, 2009)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0752449990

ISBN-13: 978-0752449999

Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.9 x 11 inches

Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds

Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Best Sellers Rank: #2,516,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #21 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Antiques & Collectibles > Coins & Medals > Medals #702 in Books > History > Military > Napoleonic Wars #5722 in Books > History > Europe > France

The book appears as very attractive, both because it is a beautiful volume, and because the topic is severely unresearched. The existing catalogues date from the 19th century, and are full of mistakes. Unfortunately this new monograph is highly unreliable, too, as it contains a number of factual errors and poorly (if at all) substantiated conclusions or hypotheses. It is a valuable source of nicely printed illustrations (pity that so often only one side of several medals), but I would not encourage anyone to take this publication as serious reference, especially for academic purposes.

As a collector of Napoleon medals, one is keenly aware of the material available concerning the cataloging and enumeration of the various medals produced before, during and after the reign of Napoleon I. Most are volumes produced back in the 19th Century, of which few useable copies exist. In many cases the books themselves are as collectable as the medals they represent. Imagine my excitement upon finding this newly produced volume! Upon finding the book, I quickly ordered a copy and have been thoroughly impressed. The photographs are beautiful, large and in color and the supporting text is very accurate and interesting. Unlike most books dealing with this subject, this volume weaves in the relationship of artistry as a form of propaganda, something that Napoleon I exploited to his great advantage. The historical context of the medals is important to truly understanding their underlying linkage to Napoleon. I highly recommend this book for any student of Napoleon, whether you collect the medals, or not.

Very well written and informative book about the use of "Art for the people" in a political way.


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