EXHIBITION 'From history painting to Steve Bell’s cartoons. Parodies of Napoleonic art'

poster exhib napo stevebell

Exhibition curated by: Pascal Dupuy (Rouen)


Private viewing in the presence of Steve Bell at 6pm on Thursday 2 December
To attend the private viewing, please register here: 



Download the poster and the press release.


At the beginning of the 19th century, during a period of intense military conflicts between England and France, Napoleon I’s self-glorifying artistic policy provided English caricaturists with a rich repertoire of patterns and symbols. Napoleon and Napoleonic art were to become the perfect targets and sources of inspiration for this generation of cartoonists.

Nowadays, the original paintings by David, Gros and their peers have become classics, and are still well-loved iconographic sources for contemporary cartoonists. While the political assaults on Napoleon have disappeared from their works, this iconography still allows present-day artists to confer to contemporary politicians the French emperor’s alleged worst defects, such as his extreme ambition and overwhelming authoritarianism.

From James Gillray to Steve Bell, this exhibition aims to explore the singularity and humorous touches of British cartoonists, who have become masters in playfully adapting and taking advantage of the Napoleonic artistic style.

The exhibition is organised alongside the conference 'Shaping cultures under the Napoleonic Empire' (2 and 3 December 2021, Maison Française d’Oxford).


Pic: ©Steve Bell (19 january 2018) Untitled