• Plunder

  • Napoleon's Theft of Veronese's Feast
  • By: Cynthia Saltzman
  • Narrated by: Suzanne Toren
  • Length: 9 hrs and 54 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (12 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Cynthia Saltzman's Plunder recounts the fate of Paolo Veronese's "Wedding Feast at Cana," a vast, sublime canvas that the French, under the command of the young Napoleon Bonaparte, tore from a wall of the monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore, on an island in Venice, in 1797. Painted in 1563 during the Renaissance, the picture was immediately hailed as a masterpiece. In 1801, the Veronese went on exhibition at the Louvre, the new public art museum founded during the Revolution in the former palace of the French kings.

As Saltzman tells the larger story of Napoleon's looting of Italian art and its role in the creation of the Louvre, she reveals the contradictions of his character: his thirst for greatness - to carry forward the finest aspects of civilization - and his ruthlessness in getting whatever he sought. After Napoleon's 1815 defeat at Waterloo, the Duke of Wellington and the Allies forced the French to return many of the Louvre's plundered paintings and sculptures. Nevertheless, "The Wedding Feast at Cana" remains in Paris to this day, hanging directly across from the Mona Lisa.

Expertly researched and deftly told, Plunder chronicles one of the most spectacular art appropriation campaigns in history, one that sheds light on a seminal historical figure and the complex origins of one of the great museums of the world.

©2021 Cynthia Saltzman (P)2021 Tantor
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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Fascinating and well researched

Thoroughly enjoyed this history of the many challenges and tragedies suffered by one great painting. Very refreshing especially after reading a vastly inferior book The Last Leonardo by Ben Lewis. In Plunder, Cynthia Saltzman never seems to argue that because a great work of art suffers tragic damages, it is rendered worthless. Great narration.