viernes, 1 de abril de 2011

Princess Alix de Foresta in Reopening of Napoleonic Museum

Havana’s Napoleonic Museum was re-inaugurated with the presence of Princess Alix de Foresta, who donated porcelain pieces to the prestigious Cuban institution.

This distinguished guest gave the museum part of a porcelain dinner service presented by Napoleon Bonaparte to his brother Jerome on his wedding day.

She assessed this gesture as an acknowledgement of the imperial family towards those who preserve this heritage.

French Napoleon Princess Alix de Foresta is the widow of Luis Marie Bonaparte, Napoleon Prince and descendant of King Jerome, the French Emperor’s youngest brother.

The mansion, named as the Sweet Dwelling by its owner, Italian-Cuban politician Orestes Ferrara, re-opened its doors after three years of restoration works.

The institution treasures a collection of almost 8,000 pieces.

In his speech during the reopening ceremony, Havana City Historian Eusebio Leal said that the building is one of the most valuable works of Cuban architects Evelio Govantes and Felix Cabarrocas.

The museum is "a contribution towards the study of an event of universal relevance that concerns many people, including those in Latin America," said Havana historian Leal at the museum inauguration ceremony. "This is not a monument glorifying conquest or the cult of militarism," he added.

He praised the works carried out to preserve the facility and the heritage its treasures, which were in charge of workers and specialists from the Cultural Heritage Department of the City Historian Office.

For his part, Frederic Dore, France’s ambassador to Havana, pointed out that the museum has one of the most beautiful collections of pieces related to Napoleon, brought by the Bonaparte followers that took refuge in Cuba.

The collection includes paintings, statues, armors, sculptures, jewelry, clothing and weapons from the era, and a library of some 5,000 books relating to the period in French, Spanish and English.

The death mask is the centerpiece of the museum, which after a three-year renovation now includes some 8,000 French Revolutionary and Imperial artifacts and takes up four floors of an ornate Renaissance-style Havana palace.

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