DÉPLACER À PARIS « TOUT CE QU’IL Y A DE BEAU EN ITALIE ». UN RÉCIT LOGISTIQUE AU SERVICE DU DIRECTOIRE (1796-1797).
In his Lettres à Miranda (1796), Quatremère de Quincy takes a stand against the displacement of masterpieces seized by the French army under Bonaparte’s command, during the first Italian campaign (1796-1797). The publication of these letters provoked a brief but fierce debate over the legitimacy of the enterprise. Despite the controversy, the Directoire went forward with the plan. Between July 1796 and August 1797, three large convoys filled with precious objects left Italy to begin their journey to France. This paper focuses on the journey of the seized objects as depicted by the press. How did the newspapers contribute to the staging of the enterprise? We will discover that the issue of political legitimacy is in this case, strongly intertwined with the logistical feat of moving the precious and fragile cargo over a great distance.