For those not particularly invested in history, the name Napoleon Bonaparte might only be associated with the disparaging label given to aggressive, vertically-challenged men known as the ‘Napoleon Complex’. However, in certain industries, the iconic 19th Century French military leader left a legacy far greater than just his temperament and stature.
One lesser known area where Napoleon is often held in high regard for his influence is the world of the arts, where Napoleon is said to have been an ally and a key figure in bringing about what became known as the “Golden Age of French Craftsmanship”.
This influence is why Montblanc has chosen to honour Napoleon in its 2021 “Patron of Art” edition, its annual collection which celebrates some of history’s most influential figures in art. In previous years, Montblanc has launched collections paying homage to a wide range of famous historical figures from 19th century’s King Ludwig II of Bavaria to 20th century opera singer Luciano Pavarotti. Known specifically for his reverence for ‘neo-classist’ art, the Montblanc Patron of Art Homage to Napoléon Edition honours the military icon’s influence in supporting a wide variety of artforms during his time as military leader and Emperor during 19th century France, including music, theatre and in particular, architecture. Napoleon’s reign oversaw some of the country’s great architectural masterpieces, including the famous Colonne Vendôme in Paris, from which one piece in Montblanc’s latest collection directly draws influence from. The collection also draws from Napoleon’s famous military attire, various historical French military and royal insignia, and artistic inspiration from Napoleon’s iconic throne room.
On a technical level, the collection showcases Montblanc’s commitment to creating incredibly high-quality luxury products, both in aesthetic and craftsmanship. The range features a set of expertly crafted writing instruments, created with Au 750 (that’s technical talk for 18 karat gold) and showing off each artist’s stunning technical ability in intricate gold work and engraving, creating a collection that reflects Napoleon’s beloved neo-classist style. As we know, luxury doesn’t come cheap, and the collection ranges widely in value, from the $5,240 NZD Limited Edition 4810, to the astounding $165,000 EURO (that’s almost $300,000 NZD) Limited Edition 8, which features a cameo portrait engraving of Napoleon himself on the cap. Still, with the level of quality and craftsmanship on display, Montblanc has created an awe-inspiring collection that would no doubt draw the admiration of its subject if he were around to marvel it.