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Napoleon as First Consul in Place Foch in Ajaccio

Monument to Napoleon as First Consul Ajaccio, place Foch
Monument to Napoleon as First Consul Ajaccio, place Foch

In the most important piazza in Ajaccio, looking toward the sea, rises a monument that the city commissioned in honour of its most illustrious citizen. Inaugurated on 5 May 1850, the anniversary of Napoleon’s death, the impressive base decorated with four crouching lions forms the pedestal for a statue of Napoleon as First Consul. The statue was made in 1804 by Francesco Massimiliano Labourer and given to the city by Cardinal Fesch.
The fortunes of the complex are particularly clear. Labourer planned from 1801 to create a statue of Napoleon Bonaparte in the role of First Consul, on the wish of François Cacault, French ambassador to Rome but also a collector and patron. The statue was completed in 1806 but since Napoleon did not show much interest in the work, his uncle, Cardinal Fesch, decided to purchase it. And so the statue became part of the prelate’s collection and passed to his birth city at his death as per his testamentary provision.
Jérôme Maglioli, the Ajaccio city architect but also a painter and decorator, was commissioned to elaborate the monument’s support and from this derived the plan for an ornate fountain with four lions.
The bas reliefs on the base depict The Emperor crowned by Victory, Virtue halting the wheel of fortune, Prudence pointed out by a serpent, Victory and Peace exchanging laurel and olive crowns.

Monument to Napoleon as First Consul
Place Foch