The Council of State, top of the administrative apparatus

The Council of State, top of the administrative apparatus

Installation of the Council of State at the Palais du Petit-Luxembourg on December 25, 1799.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - H. Lewandowski

Publication date: March 2016

Historical context

Without breaking openly with the work of the Revolution, Bonaparte, who had become First Consul, wanted to restore order by restoring the state, in which way he responded to the aspirations of public opinion. It also takes over from him the institution of the Council of State, with its advisers and masters of requests, a judicial body which, heir to the King's Council, will be at the same time the great council of the government, placed next to the executive and even the legislature to enlighten and prepare decisions, and the supreme administrative tribunal of France.

Image Analysis

Alongside Bonaparte, we recognize Cambacérès and Lebrun. Locré, secretary general of the Council of State, is seated, writing the minutes before the section presidents: Boulay de Meurthe (legislation), Brune (war), de Sermon (finances), Gentaume (navy), Rœderer (interior ). The latter take an oath to the First Consul. The Council Chamber is rendered with insistent topographical truth. The façades of the Luxembourg Palace can be seen through the left window - the Council of State first sits in Petit-Luxembourg - and the view of the Faubourg Saint-Germain through the right.

Interpretation

Commissioned during the reign of Napoleon III for the Historical Galleries of Versailles, this composition by Couder is a continuation of both thematic and aesthetic orders from Louis-Philippe for the Musée de l'Histoire de France. While the IIe République saw a brief decline in historical painting, the Second Empire brought it up to date for obvious propaganda purposes: the new emperor revived the Napoleonic legend, the source of its legitimacy. Count Emilien de Nieuwerkerke, established by the favor of Princess Mathilde as director of the imperial museums, intended to complete this program successfully. Commissioned in 1852, Couder’s canvas was delivered to Versailles in 1856. It has been deposited with the Council of State, which has seated at the Palais-Royal, in Paris, since 1874.

  • administration
  • Consulate
  • Napoleonic legend
  • oath
  • Cambaceres (Jean-Jacques-Régis de)
  • Bonaparte (Napoleon)

Bibliography

Louis BERGERON The Napoleonic Episode: Interior Aspects Paris, Seuil, coll. "Points Histoire", 1972. Thierry LENTZ The Grand Consulate Paris, Fayard, 1999 Jean TULARD (dir.) Napoleon dictionary Paris, Fayard, 1987. Jean TULARD (dir.) The History of Napoleon through painting Paris, Belfond, 1991 Collective "Bonaparte's coup d'etat" History File n ° 237 Louis BERGERON The Napoleonic Episode: Interior Aspects Paris, Seuil, coll. "Points Histoire", 1972. Thierry LENTZ The Grand Consulate Paris, Fayard, 1999 Jean TULARD (dir.) Napoleon dictionary Paris, Fayard, 1987. Jean TULARD (dir.) The History of Napoleon through painting Paris, Belfond, 1991 Collective "Bonaparte's coup d'etat" Dossier de L’Histoire n ° 237

To cite this article

Robert FOHR and Pascal TORRÈS, "The Council of State, summit of the administrative apparatus"


Video: FRENCH ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM: ADMINISTRATIVE COURTS, CONSULTATIVE MACHINERY, COUNCIL OF STATE