Want to know why statues of emperors are crowned with laurel wreathes?
Symbols of Power: Napoleon And The Art of The Empire Styles, a web
exhibition from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston has the answer for you. At
the web site you will find explanations of the iconography - Roman
mythological figures, the laurel wreath, butterflies, swans, bees - used on
objects made for Napoleon and his first wife, Josephine, who were crowned
emperor and empress in 1804. For example, a stool designed for one of
Napoleon's generals has legs in the shape of crossed sabers, decorated with
Mars and Minerva, the Roman gods of war. The stool was also purposefully
designed with no arms, so that a soldier with a sword on his belt could sit
in it without removing his weapon. Why the laurel wreath? It is another
classical symbol used in ancient Rome to celebrate military victory. [DS]
~ Copyright Scout Report 2007
Actual exhibit is at Museum of Fine Art Boston - on view through
January 27 (ticket exhibit).
I can come up with lots of lesson ideas to go with this exhibit (maybe
even compare to African Exhibit with same title - "Symbols of Power" -
see National Museum of African Art for that exhibit).