The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Friday, October 22, 2021


Napoleon's bath meets its Waterloo
The copper bathtub Napoleon used in Saint-Helena © Mémorial Waterloo 1815.

by Matthieu Demeestere



BRAINE-L’ALLEUD (AFP).- One of the many things Napoleon Bonaparte was famous for was taking long soaks in the bath, during which he read newspapers and held forth to his entourage.

It was a habit he carried over to isolated but relatively comfortable exile, reinforced by his doctor recommending it as therapy for chronic skin rashes.

Now, the copper bathtub he used in Saint-Helena, his remote island prison in the South Atlantic, is being put on show in perhaps the most famous site associated with the French emperor: Waterloo, in Belgium.

There, inside a museum that is part of the Waterloo Memorial commemorating the close defeat of Napoleon's troops in June 1815, it features alongside other exile memorabilia, including indoor garb and billiard balls.

The exhibition, "Napoleon: from Waterloo to Saint-Helena, the birth of the legend", opened on Wednesday and is to run until October.

Letters, games, clothes, tableware and personal items attest to the daily routine Napoleon, once ruler of half of Europe, carried through for the last six years of his life, until his death at age 51.

"This daily life in Saint-Helena was the missing chain between his defeat at Waterloo in 1815 that the whole world knows about and the time of his death," the curator of the exhibition, French historian David Chanteranne, told reporters.

He noted the mystery that still surrounds the cause of Napoleon's death 200 years on, saying the former emperor's body was subjected to five autopsies.

That, he added, was because the English military guarding Saint-Helena wanted to verify the conclusions reached by Napoleon's personal doctor, Francois Antommarchi.

The official verdict was stomach cancer, believed to be the source of the ulcer that long plagued Napoleon.




A late gardener

But theories blossomed, then as now, that he might have been poisoned or over-medicated for his rashes or intestinal cramping.

His remains today are entombed under a vast golden dome at Les Invalides, in the heart of Paris.

Chanteranne explained that Napoleon, once used to striding across a continent, ended up becoming an artful gardener on Saint-Helena, encouraged by his doctor to get outside and "do exercise".

The gardens around Longwood House, the residence he had on the island, were designed by Napoleon himself. The 16-hectare (40-acre) domain became property of the French government in the middle of the 19th century.

Most of the personal articles exhibited at the Waterloo Memorial come from Longwood House, and several have not been presented elsewhere, the organisers said.

Tha famous bathtub was used by Napoleon "for between an hour and an hour-and-a-half ... each afternoon from 2:00 pm," one of them said.

The water was served "hot, nearly boiling" to treat the rashes, for which mercury ointment and potassium nitrate were also prescribed.

With such a chunk of time spent in the copper tub, Napoleon took to having his entourage stand around him for "endless discussions".

The exhibition also has a pair of silk stockings that Napoleon usually wore, as well as a long white shirt and a soft-leather slipper -- all of which he slipped into after emerging from the bath.


© Agence France-Presse










Today's News

May 7, 2021

ARTBnk: Claude Monet's 'Le Bassin aux nymphéas' - Understanding Financial Performance

Frieze New York, first live art fair in a year, kicks off at the Shed

Kasmin exhibits Robert Polidori's photographs of the ancient frescoes found among the ruins of Pompeii

Napoleon's bath meets its Waterloo

Korean art is on exhibit, with protests from North and South

Hugo Boss Prize exhibition featuring new and recent work by Deana Lawson opens at Guggenheim Museum

Van Gogh Museum presents digital work of artist Jan Robert Leegt

Sotheby's second NFT auction presents first ever minted NFT from 2014, rare Cryptopunk & more

Bonhams to offer the first collaboration between Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat

Lonnie Holley's life of perseverance, and art of transformation

Norton Museum of Art announces 27 major new acquisitions

'Unknown' rare watch owned by Picasso offered for the first time at auction

Exhibition presents Joan Miro's maquette for one of the ceramic murals commissioned for the UNESCO plaza in Paris

Johnny Crawford, a western hero's son on 'The Rifleman,' dies at 75

James Brandon Lewis, a saxophonist who embodies and transcends tradition

Vira Sathidar, cultural figure who fought India's caste system, dies at 62

Czech Centre London presents an outdoor exhibition of photographs by Antonín Kratochvíl

Driehaus Museum appoints new Director & Board President

Only connect: Yearning for the intimacy of a danced, onstage world

These four stage directors know just what needs to change

Sharon Pollock, playwright who explored Canada's identity, dies at 85

When Bernstein conducted Stravinsky, modern music came alive

David Swensen, who revolutionized endowment investing, dies at 67

Coming soon to a hallowed hall of spaceflight: An X-wing fighter

GUIDE ABOUT ANIMAL SHOP DELIVERIES

27 Must-Watch South Korean Movies

Why You Must Wear Leather Hats

The truth about day trading

How can I improve my home on a budget?

Can Mandir Discusses Dropshipping And Crypto




Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 



Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org avemariasound.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful