Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Re: Hiatus

I am really sorry that I haven't made many posts lately. I am going to have a break for about a month and I hope to write many pieces after that!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

An Artistic Princess

Charlotte and Zenaide

While we were in Rome last year we went to see the Charlotte Bonaparte exhibition. This included impressive sketches and paintings by the princess, beautiful eighteenth century objects, and paintings by famous artists. This was very enjoyable, except that the receptionist didn't like Australians! (My English husband got much better treatment!)

The artistic princess was the daughter of Napoleon 1's older brother, Joseph, and his wife, Julie Clary. Born in France in 1802, young Charlotte grew up there. She remained mostly in Mortefontaine and Paris even while her father was the king of Naples and the king of Spain.

Charlotte soon showed a talent for art. She loved to spend her time painting and sketching. The princess was lucky enough to receive lessons from the famous artist, Jean

-Louis David, in Belgium.

After he was exiled, Joseph bought properties in America. He owned a house in Philadelphia and a large estate in New Jersey. He filled this with art and sculpture. Large landscaped gardens added beauty and serenity. The princess spent three years in America with her father. Here she painted portraits of society people and New Jersey landscapes. Some of these were exhibited at the Academy for Fine Arts in Philadelphia.

Charlotte was petite and attractive with fine dark eyes and hair. Many suitors called but her father was determined to marry her to a relative. She married her cousin, Napoleon-Louis, in 1826. The couple returned to Europe and lived in Rome. Here Charlotte studied engraving and lithography with Louis Leopold Robert.

Napoleon-Louis died during the struggle for unification of Italy. After this the princess lived with her mother in Florence. She became pregnant at 36, perhaps to a Polish count. The princess died tragically from complications of childbirth.
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