Napoleons column Place Vendôme
Napoleon's Column, Place Vendôme, Paris.
An exact marble creation of the famous Architectural French column, set upon a detailed architectural base, with carved scenes of French armies on manoeuvre, by Sculptured Arts studio.
A column for the Grande Armée
The Roman emperor Trajan (53 -117 AD) had his column constructed in 113 AD. It was built in the centre of the forum in Rome to celebrate his armies’ victories over Dacia. The column was decorated with bas-reliefs carved out of stone and arranged in a spiral round up to the top of the column. In January 1798, when the French armies vanquished the Austrians who ruled northern Italy, the French government of the time (called the Directory) wanted to transport this column to Paris. However they abandoned this idea.
Napoleon I was crowned emperor over the French people on the 4th December 1804. He returned victorious from his 1805 campaigns in Germany, having beaten the combined armies of Austria and Russia, led by Francis I of Austria and Tsar Alexander I, on the 2nd December 1805 at the Battle of Austerlitz. Then, in January 1806, he decided to dedicate the column in the Place Vendôme to his Grande Armée, and it was to be built with the bronze melted down from captured enemy cannons.
A 220m-long comic strip in 3D relief!
Napoleon put the head of the Musée Napoléon (today’s Louvre), Vivant Denon, in charge of carrying out the project. The architects Jean-Baptiste Lepère and Jacques Gondouin dreamed up a column 44m high, comprised of stone cylinder onto which bronze plaques would be fixed. These 425 plaques would unwind in a spiral all the way up to the top of the statue; for us today this seems an odd idea since it is impossible to see all the reliefs together at the same time. Vivant Denon commissioned the painter Pierre-Nolasque Bergeret to depict scenes from the Emperor’s campaigns: the Boulogne Camp set up for the invasion of Britain, the departure of the army, and battle-scenes, up to the Emperor’s return to Paris at the head of his guard on the 26th January 1806. These panels were created by a team of about a dozen sculptors.
56 cm tall x 10.5 wide x 10.5 deep.