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Objects of WarThe Material Culture of Conflict and Displacement$
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Leora Auslander and Tara Zahra

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781501720079

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501720079.001.0001

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The Honor of the Trophy

The Honor of the Trophy

A Prussian Bronze in the Napoleonic Era

(p.27) 1 The Honor of the Trophy
Objects of War

Alice Goff

Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses how and why during the Napoleonic wars, French armies expropriated artwork from across Europe to be displayed at the new Louvre Museum in Paris in the name of Enlightenment universalism. It focuses on the bronze statue known as Adorans that had been discovered in 1503 in Rhodes and brought to Venice, whence it circulated through noble and royal private collections until it was captured by the French and put on public display in the Louvre. Prussian administrators subsequently repatriated the statue to serve their own idealistic vision of art's transcendent spirit. The bronze statue was damaged a number of times along this trajectory, so damaged that even fundamental questions such as whether the boy's arms were extended heavenward in supplication or in some other posture became the subject of intense debate. Ultimately, the chapter argues for the importance of the object's materiality and also for the crucial role of its human captors and interpreters.

Keywords:   Napoleonic wars, French armies, artwork, Louvre Museum, Enlightenment universalism, Adorans, materiality

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