Museums: Napoleonic Dandy

The Island of Corsica is notorious for its ill-tempered Cap Corse aperitifs, its vile figatelli sausage, and Napoleon, who left it as soon as he could. It is not known for art; yet the capital of Ajaccio (pop. 32,000) has a rich remnant of what was once one of Europe's greatest collections. Ajaccio used to think that the thousand paintings in the municipal museum were fakes, but the late Bernard Berenson disproved that judgment in 1959. Now the collection is becoming a focus of European art interest.

While Napoleon was busy collecting countries,...

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