CFP - Between Milan and Monza: Napoleon’s court and its international network

CFP - Between Milan and Monza: Napoleon’s court and its international network

International Conference
Milano, Palazzo Reale -14-15 October 2021

The formation of the Kingdom of Italy under Napoleon I (17 March 1805), and his Viceroy Eugène de Beauharnais (7 June 1805), entailed the creation of a court in Milan, the capital of the Kingdom. Issued a few days after Napoleon's coronation in Milan (26 May 1805), the third constitutional statute of the new Kingdom of Italy incorporated the former Ducal Palace (then Royal Palace), the Villa Belgiojoso-Bonaparte – purchased by the Italian Republic from the former owner's heirs – and the Royal Villa in Monza - built as a Hapsburg Summer Residence in the last decades of the Ancien Régime – into the Crown Estates.

This international conference will center on the 'royal' residences in Milan and Monza as loci of an interregional court, closely tied to France and Napoleon's Empire within a European network of relations. Discussion on well-known personalities, together with lesser-known actors in the Royal court, will bring new elements to the reconstruction of this political and cultural constellation.

Once established, the court residences were the object of a vast renovation campaign to satisfy the royal family's domestic needs; to tailor the spaces to French models of court etiquette; and to suitably represent royal ambitions in the new capital. This renovation campaign was undertaken by the Court Architect and the General Intendant of the Crown Estate, and executed by a vast group of (mainly unidentified) workers (including master builders, stonemasons, decorators, upholsterers...) and suppliers, as well as artists and artisans working in the decorative arts, whose investigation provides a fuller understanding of the Milanese manufactures and the network of commissions from French and other European firms, together with their role in the formation of taste, culture and social life.

This conference will address different aspects of Napoleon's Court in Milan and Monza, exploring political, ceremonial, architectural, and artistic issues in relation to contemporary events in Paris and within a European context.

Topics of the three-session conference include the Court and its residences, its actors, the decorative arts and the royal suppliers:
1) The Court and its Residences
This session will focus on the Napoleonic court's organizational practices within the context of Lombardic history and culture. Papers should address how new French taste modeled the royal residences in Milan and Monza, with particular reference to their décor, furnishing, and artworks.

2) The actors
The second section will discuss some of the actors of this vibrant cultural scene, including but not limited to the various roles of the Royal House members and their engineers, architects, and artists commissioned in service of the French dynasty.

3) The decorative arts and the royal suppliers
The third section will focus on the decorative artworks designed and manufactured for the viceregal court, headed by Eugène de Beauharnais. Italian and foreign workshop production will be considered together with their incorporation into the architecture and decorative schemes of the aristocratic palaces.

Steering Committee: Christophe Beyeler (Musée Napoléon Ier, Musée national du Château de Fontainebleau); Paola Cordera (Politecnico di Milano), Giovanna D’Amia (Politecnico di Milano), Jörg Ebeling (Centre allemand d’histoire de l’art, Paris), Elena Riva (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan), Marina Rosa (Centro documentazione Residenze Reali lombarde).

This conference is organized by the Centro documentazione Residenze Reali lombarde, the Centre allemand d’histoire de l’art Paris and the Palazzo Reale (Milan), in collaboration with the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano and the Politecnico di Milano, and in partnership with the European Federation of Napoleonic Cities. It is part of the celebrations of the 2021 Bicentenary of the death of Napoleon Bonaparte, under the patronage of a national committee of scholars of the Napoleonic era chaired by Luigi Mascilli Migliorini.

Given the current pandemic's unpredictable nature, the conference will be hybrid (dualmode), in traditional in-person format, if possible, along with online participation when needed.
The Steering Committee encourages applications by museum professionals, academics, Ph.D. students and independent scholars.
Contributions are welcome in Italian, English, and French.
Applicants are invited send their proposal for a 25-minute presentation by e-mail in a single Word file as an attachment to:

Proposals will include:
1. The title of the proposal, together with an abstract (maximum 1,500 characters, spaces included);
2. Five keywords;
3. A short CV, highlighting activities and publications related to the theme of the session (maximum 1,000 characters, spaces included).
The deadline for applications is: 10 may 2021.
Notification of decisions will be mailed by: 30 June 2021.


Dr. Jörg Ebeling

Dr. Jörg Ebeling

Research Director / Head of Library
Phone +33 (0)1 42 60 67 66