October 2017- November 2018 / Arras Musée des Beaux-Arts Napoleon. Images of the legend

© RMN-GP (Château de Versailles)

The partnership between the region Hauts-de-France, the town of Arras and the Palace of Versailles is continuing with a new exhibition dedicated to Napoleon.


The exhibition presents a large selection of the Napoleonic collection from the palaces of Versailles and Trianon, which is the world's largest on the subject. Visitors will be able to discover the history of Napoleon in chronological order, from General Bonaparte to the fallen Emperor.

The exhibition also throws the spotlight on the Emperor's close circle (family, important officers, imperial Court) and the Parisian and international societies of the time (artists, scholars, foreign sovereigns etc.)

It shows how, from very early on, Napoleon wanted to write his own legend for posterity by commissioning multiple paintings commemorating key moments of his life. Paintings, sculptures and furniture reveal the wealth and quality of artistic production at the time and will lead visitors in the footsteps of Napoleon Bonaparte, whose unique destiny forever.


Frédéric Lacaille, Curator in charge of 19th-century paintings at the Musée National des Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon

Marie-Lys Marguerite, Director of Arras Musée des Beaux-Arts  

Exhibition guide

As a strategist, Napoleon knew the power of images and, from his first feats of arms, he used the arts to immortalise the memory of glorious and symbolic moments, taking liberties with the historical truth.

The guide to Napoleon and his image


1796 — Gros, Antoine-Jean

Le général Bonaparte au pont d’Arcole
More infos

1802 — David, Jacques-Louis

Bonaparte franchissant le mont Saint-Bernard, 20 mai 1800
More infos

1812 — Gérard, François

Marie-Louise, impératrice des Français (1791-1847) et le roi de Rome
More infos

1805 — Gérard, François

Napoléon Ier, empereur des Français (1769-1821)
More infos


practical information

Musée des Beaux-Arts d'Arras
22 rue Paul Doumer
62000 ARRAS


Full price: €7.50

Opening hours

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 11am to 6pm
Saturday and Sunday 10am to 6pm

More information

Guided tours

From 7 October every Saturday at 2:30pm and Sundays at 11:00am
The Tourist Information Office offers a guided tour of the Napoleon exhibition.


Around the exhibition

Exhibition catalogue

Napoleon at Versailles is the story of a close link between the first emperor of France and the domain of the kings that the "Palace of Versailles in Arras" partnership highlights. In the footsteps of Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette, his time at Versailles, often misunderstood, marked the beginning of his new relationship with Marie-Louise.

The Versailles estate now houses the finest Napoleonic collection in the world, made up of masterpieces - paintings, sculptures and furniture - from the 19th century masters: David, Gros, Gérard, Lefèvre, Girodet, Lejeune, Canova, Jacob-Desmalter, among others.

Buy catalogue


Complete program of events


An artistic and cultural program offers shows, in connection with the history of Napoleon.



The young public booklet


A booklet dedicated to young public, to discover the exhibition differently.


Educational file

The museum team will work with teachers to develop customised projects.



Organisations dedicated to groups with social issues or handicaps can enjoy a special reception and accompanying guide


The partnership

This exhibition is part of a partnership project between three major institutions: the region Hauts-de-France, the town of Arras and the Palace of Versailles. This large-scale partnership was established in 2011, allowing collections from Versailles to be displayed in Arras. Major event-exhibitions are held alongside educational and cultural work in order to allow as many people as possible to discover the history and heritage of the Palace of Versailles.

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