This ‘Vie de Napoleon’ features ten single figures that tell the life of Napoleon via has most memorable moments this creating a veritable ‘biography in miniature’. By just viewing each of these figures one will gain the impression of traveling through time alongside the great man. Three major ‘life lines’ can be traced. The firs one consists of three pieces- cover Napoleon during the course of his political career. Finally, the last four figures cover his decline and fall.
This latest production from Black Hawk charts the incredible 52 year journey between two islands.
Corsica and Saint Helena, and the amazing life represented by two figures: the charming little piece representing the ‘petit Bonaparte’, already playing war games on Corsica, and the defeated, dejected ‘General Bonaparte’ who would meet his end after a painful 6 years imprisoned on a remote island in the middle of the South Atlantic. In between – and in succession- there is the young, swallow faced young artillery the time of his Egyptian adventure; the First Consul, and the as Emperor, Napoleon I, already at the pinnacle of his political and military career at the time of the battle of Austerlitz in 1805. The first piece of the last quartet shows Napoleon at the time of the Peninsular War dressed in his uniform of colonel of ‘Grenadines de la Garde’, which he liked to wear for parades and special occasions as opposed to the green one of the colonel ‘Chasseurs de la Grade’ that he preferred whole on the campaign. We next meet him immediately following the disastrous 1812 Russian Campaign, which marked the beginning of the end, while involved in a terrible retreat in the midst of the Russian winter.
While exiled on Saint Helena he was closely guarded by the British who denied him his title of ‘Emperor’, addressing him simply as ‘General Bonaparte’- that Napoleon by no means accepted. He was quartered, along with his staff, in the damp and decidedly unhealthy residence of Longwood, where he remained in self-imposed seclusion until his premature death- cause, according to some but since disproved, by poisoning. Here we see him portrayed in 1820 while dictating his memoirs to Count Bertrand; he had become decidedly portly and untidy in appearance; books and papers cast on the floor together with is legendary hat … He was fast approaching the end of his life and what could possibly be defined as his ‘final battle, that is the building of the Napoleonic legend that still remains to this day.
he last piece shows him around a year later. Death is now knocking on his door and Emperor spends his final days working on his last will and testament, trying to leave all matters correctly settled- including many minor details- in typical Napoleonic style.
While his body is incarcerated in the humid, gloomy, rat- infested Longwood; his great should would once again be free to soar above the island and, indeed, the world his last breath departs his body….