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Napoleon facing his (treacherous) advisor

Published May 20, 2022
Updated Oct 27, 2022

📍 🇫🇷 Napoleon facing his (treacherous) advisor

"They scared each other off", it was said of the relationship between Napoleon (1769-1821 CE) and Talleyrand (1754-1838 CE), the Foreign Affairs minister of the former. Their story portrays twenty years of betrayal and epics with these two.

One wonders the intention of Duke Henri d´Orléans (1822-1897) who offered this extraordinary Chantilly collection to the public. He has consciously placed (forever) the two men face to face in this room. A Napoleon « First Consul » then, in this portrait (late 1790s), right after revolutionary turbulences, is depicted as particularly handsome, naive, as young as France’s actual President (Emmanuel Macron)... looked down on by an adviser positioned halfway up by the Duke, an adviser fifteen years older than the future Emperor, gimpy, meticulous & patient in the imperial rise as in the fall.

Perhaps, in this reddish velvet, Henri d’Orléans tried to bring back to life the great duel of his parents' generation and succedded in this portrayal.

____ Sources ____

>> Emmanuel de Waresquiel, “Talleyrand, le prince immobile”, 2019

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19th CE