Napoleone, il Quirinale, i Musei Vaticani
Napoleone, il Quirinale, i Musei Vaticani

Napoleone, il Quirinale, i Musei Vaticani

I fregi di José Álvarez Cubero per la Camera da Letto dell’Imperatore

Ilaria Sgarbozza
Edizioni Musei Vaticani
June 2019

Napoleon, the Quirinale, the Vatican Museums
The friezes of José Álvarez Cubero for the Emperor’s Bedchamber 

The neo-classical friezes in Napoleon’s Bedchamber in the Quirinale, conserved today in the storerooms of the Vatican Pinacoteca, which have never been on public display, recover their historic and artistic identity thanks to this volume, available in Italian.

Designed for the decoration of the sumptuous Bedchamber of the Emperor in the Quirinale, where all the interior decoration had a celebratory intent, the 24 monumental reliefs carved by José Álvarez Cubero, figuring mythological scenes and stories of Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece, are analysed in the Roman context of the lively Napoleonic age.

The historic and political events, which led to the project and the creation of the friezes are re-traced, and then those events – in primis the defeat of Napoleon and the consequent return of the Pope to the Quirinale Palace – which led to the dismantling of the work and its being put into store. A focus on the life and career of the artist follows, with timely references to other works of his now conserved in some of the most important museums of Europe.
Finally, the results of scientific investigations and cleaning procedures are reported, ending with a structural description of the reliefs with notes on their conservation history and with some consideration given to the hope of restoration and future public display.