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The Crimean War and Prince Plon–Plon

Emile–Jean–Horace Vernet, La bataille de l’Alma. Ajaccio, Musée Fesch.
Emile–Jean–Horace Vernet, La bataille de l’Alma. Ajaccio, Musée Fesch.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, from the perspective of a Turkish Empire near ruin, the great European powers turned their attention to the Balkans. It was the Crimean War, declared in March 1853 against Russia by the French, led by Napoleon III and by the English, with Queen Victoria. The French troops landed on the coasts of the jagged peninsula of the Black Sea, in Calamita Bay, on 14 September 1854. A few days later, on 20 September, the French army, reunited with the British, was stopped by the Russian army near the Alma river. This was the famous battle won by the two western powers thanks to shrewd strategy, even though they were outnumbered by the Russian troops and even though the enemy army held a more advantageous geographic position from the military perspective.
Prince Napoléon Joseph Charles Bonaparte, called Jérôme like his father (Napoleon’s younger brother), but known by his nickname of “Plon Plon” since he was a little boy, participated in the war without earning any particular honour and without playing any special role but, when he returned to France, in 1857 he commissioned Isidore Pils and Horace Vernet, two military painters in fashion at the time, to paint his portrait in the context of two of the most important war episodes in which he had taken part: the landing and the Battle of Alma.
The two paintings, left by the prince to the city of Ajaccio at his death, are housed in the Napoleonic collection of the Musée Fesch in the Corsican city. In the first, by Pils, all of the figures in the foreground around Napoléon Jérôme are portraits of leading officers in the Crimean War. In the second, Horace Vernet, among the most highly esteemed battle painters of the age and star, along with Ingres and Delacroix, of a retrospective at the Universal Exposition of 1855, portrayed the prince among the horsemen in the foreground to the right while he indicates the battlefield.
Napoléon Jérôme retreated from the war before its conclusion.

Isidor–Alexandre–Augustin Pils, The landing of the allied troops in Crimea.
Emile–Jean–Horace Vernet, The battle of Alma.

Musée Fesch
Rue Cardinal Fesch, 50–52

The museum is open according to the following schedule
From 1 October to 30 April: Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM; Thursday, Friday and the third Sunday of the month from 12 PM to 5 PM.
From 2 May to 30 September: Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 10.30 AM to 6 PM; Thursday, Friday and Sunday from 12 PM to 6 PM; Thursdays during the month of August, the museum remains open until 8.30 PM
Day of closure: Tuesdays.
The museum is closed on the following holidays: 25 December, 1 January, 1 November, 11 November, 18 March, Easter Sunday, 1 May.

Admission ticket: full 8.00 euros; reduced 5.00 euros; reduced for tourism operators partnered with the museum 4.00 euros.