Gallery of Battles
Continuing our journey in the south wing, we come upon this room: the Gallery of Battles covers over a millennium of great Frankish / French victories, from Clovis to Charlemagne all the way to Napoleon, commemorated in busts and lavish paintings. I’d assumed it was done by Napoleon, since the last couple of paintings are of him, and it would be perfectly in character to position himself as heir to these great kings and generals. But no, this is again Louis-Philippe’s doing.
I mean, he was the guy who brought Napoleon’s remains home from St. Helena in 1840. The googling I did suggested he was trying to exploit Bonapartiste nostalgia to boost his own popularity, so maybe that’s what this is about too. Or maybe he actually did love himself some Napoleon!
It’s funny when you consider the kind of museum Louis-Philippe implemented in Versailles: borrowing the building’s baroque glory, boosting his own legitimacy along with France’s glory. But I guess it was normal for a national museum to have that kind of agenda.