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THE ESPRIT

Life at court

Lorenzo Bartolini,The Inconsolable. Pisa, Camposanto Monumentale
Lorenzo Bartolini,The Inconsolable. Pisa, Camposanto Monumentale

Parties, words and diplomacy: the Napoleonic empire inherited from the ’Ancien Régime l’ the custom of useful banquets, a privileged method through which the new ruling class looked back to the form and substance of the human relations of the old nobility.
And they are salons of elegant ladies, and they are new bourgeois symbols of power, and they are ephemeral displays of unusual splendour, and they are lights, velvets and gardens: there was no longer need for a king, but there was an emperor, his family and their glittering courts, useful laboratories in which to trace the outlines of a new world.

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