All posts tagged: Joséphine de Beauharnais

Anonymous, France, after Gioacchino Giuseppe Serangeli, Napoleon and Alexander I Say Farewell in Tilsit in 1807, c. 1810. Oil on canvas
© State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

One woman, two men. History in the Hermitage

I had seen the posters of the Hermitage all over the city: Alexander, Napoleon & Josephine: a story of friendship, war and art. The website speaks of “Female power” and  the exhibition is at my favorite museum, the Hermitage. So I decided to visit and get inspired by these ‘three historical giants’. To start with the negatives; I hardly got any “female power” vibe. Yes, Joséphine collected her own art, and was popular with the people and the two men. So popular that even after divorcing her for not giving him children, she remained empress of France. (It was a riddle to me why he’d divorce her because of that – she did have two kids of an earlier marriage, so one could argue she should be able to deliver..?) There was no story of how they met, or what Joséphine brought him. Yes, mention was made of her beauty and intelligence, but the exhibition spoke of no real accomplishments in my opinion. That Alexander and Napoleon liked each other became clear. Also because of …