Decorative Arts and Design
Like the rulers of antiquity he wished to emulate, Napoleon viewed coinage as a tool for propaganda. Special medals struck in honor of his achievements bolstered political support and served to disseminate strategic images of himself as a leader. The three medals displayed here demonstrate how Napoleon connected his reputation and France's future under his reign with ancient glory.
One commemorates his Italian campaigns: the obverse bears his profile that recalls those of emperors on Roman coins; the reverse depicts an idealized nude of the First Consul in the guise of Hercules lifting an allegorical representation of Italy to her feet. Another medal celebrates the Napoleon Museum—the short-lived display in the Louvre in Paris of the ancient sculptures he stole from Italy. Among the artworks featured in this tiny image is the monumental marble Laocoön group that was unearthed in Rome in 1506 and depicts a Trojan priest and his two sons being devoured by a serpent. The third medal depicts the profiles of Napoleon and Charlemagne, the early ninth-century Roman emperor who is named in David's Bonaparte Crossing the Alps.
Bequest of Dr. Marion Reilly
This item is not on view
Medal. Brooklyn Museum, Bequest of Dr. Marion Reilly, 29.190.8. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 29.190.8_front_PS11.jpg)
front, 29.190.8_front_PS11.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2019
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license
. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply.
Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact email@example.com
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.