Initiated as soon as the Directory in the form of engravings or of small objects, the image of Napoleon was spread under the Empire with many specimens throughout all the layers the society.
This official propaganda stopped with the return of the Bourbon family and they had to resort to so called seditious objects, because the effigy of Louis XVIII’s effigy hid that of Napoleon.
The death of the Emperor in 1821 caused the police to let down its guard a little, but it wasn’t before the accession of Louis-Philippe in 1830 that many copies of all kinds of objects representing Napoleon and his successes were dispersed. Printed ceramics, fabric, statuettes, snuff boxes and etchings were an extraordinary way to broadcast Napoleonic propaganda.
They developed the memory of the Emperor among the working classes, who were the major support of Louis-NapolÃ©on Bonaparte; future Napoleon III.
Though the Second Empire restarted on its own account the official propaganda, regime’s fall in 1870 put Napoleon’s image back to sleep for twenty.
The Prussian-overcoming hero’s image had to wait the 1890s and the awakening of a national feeling to reappear. Paintings, theatre plays and sculptures celebrate the cult of Napoleon, which, since the end of the 19th century, has never weakened.