In her book, The Caesar of Paris: Napoleon Bonaparte, Rome, and the Artistic Obsession That Shaped An Empire
(Pegasus Books, 2018), Susan Jaques
offers up a richly detailed and researched account of Napoleon’s fascination with ancient Rome, and how this obsession shaped not only France in the early part of the nineteenth century, but also the city of Paris we know today. In this interview, she traces the cultural history and legacy of the Napoleonic era, discussing topics such as the looting of artworks from conquered states, the creation of the Empire style by architects Charles Percier and Pierre Fontaine, the Roman inspirations for the Arc de Triomphe, the Arc du Carrousel, and the Vendôme column, and the politics of art repatriation after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo.
Susan Jaques is a Los Angeles-based author and journalist with a consuming interest in history and art. Her biography, The Empress of Art: Catherine the Great and the Transformation of Russia
explores the tsarina’s bold, unprecedented use of art and architecture to legitimize her reign and transform Russia into a European superpower. Her new cultural history, The Caesar of Paris: Napoleon Bonaparte, Rome, and the Artistic Obsession that Shaped an Empire
examines Napoleon’s fascination with antiquity and its impact on the urban landscape of Paris (Pegasus Books, April 2016 & December 2018).
Susan’s articles, profiles, and reviews have appeared in such publications as Fine Arts Connoisseur, The Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Toronto Globe and Mail
, and NY Review of Books
Susan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Stanford University and an MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is a member of Historians of Eighteenth-Century Art & Architecture and the Napoleon Historical Society. Susan is a docent at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.
Beth Mauldin is an Associate Professor of French at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Her research interests include French cultural studies, film, and the social and cultural history of Paris.