Napoleon, from Classic to Kitsch, August 6 at the Clark

For Immediate Release

July 21, 2005

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute will host a free lecture on “Napoleon, Image, and Trademark” by Mark Ledbury, associate director of the research and academic program, to be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 6. The lecture will highlight works in the current exhibition, Jacques-Louis David: Empire to Exile, on view through September 5.

David’s famous painting, Bonaparte Crossing the Alps at Grand-Saint-Bernard (1800-1801), known as much for being reproduced on a brandy bottle as for hanging on a museum wall, is one of many images of Napoleon that have been co-opted by mass culture. Ledbury will discuss Napoleon as icon, from classic to kitsch.

The first exhibition to explore the transformation of Jacques-Louis David’s art following the French Revolution, Jacques-Louis David: Empire to Exile is also the first major exhibition in the U.S. to focus exclusively on David’s work. David was the most celebrated painter of his era and the leader of the Neoclassicist movement, which influenced Western art for generations. The exhibition includes many of the artist’s greatest paintings and recently discovered works that have never before been seen in the United States. Empire to Exile has been co-organized by the Clark and the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Empire to Exile features 26 paintings and 22 works on paper, of which eight paintings and 11 works on paper have never before been exhibited in this country. The exhibition unites major works drawn from private collections and the holdings of a range of leading national and international institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cleveland Museum of Art, the Fogg Art Museum, the Louvre, The National Gallery, the State Hermitage Museum, and the Chateau of Versailles. Organized into six sections, Empire to Exile traces the evolution of David’s work from 1794, following the Reign of Terror, to his death in exile in 1825. Exhibition sections include Art after Politics, In the Service of Napoleon, Portraits of the Consulate and Empire, Antiquity Revisited, Experiments in Expression, and Portraits in Exile.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The galleries are open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in July and August (closed Mondays September through June). Admission June 1 through October 31 is $10 for adults, free for children 18 and under, members, and students with valid ID. Admission is free November through May. For more information, call 413-458-2303 or visit


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