André Masséna and his almost perfect statue
The beloved child!
Napoleon I called Masséna l’enfant chéri de la Victoire, "the beloved child of Victory", after his exploits on Rivoli’s battlefield, in 1797!
André Masséna, duke de Rivoli, prince of Essling, Empire marshal, was born in Nice in 1758.
His family, who came from the village of Levens (Alpes-Maritimes), moved in Nice in 1750.
Jules Masséna, wine merchant, married Margaret Fabre in 1754: little André was born on May 6th 1758! Soon he became an orphan, so his uncle adopted him and raised him.
He learnt how to read and write... and especially how to read marine maps!
André embarked on a ship as a cabin boy. Then, things went quickly: he was caporal in 1776, then sergeant one year later. The glory came in 1797, in Rivoli...
So, that’s why Masséna has his own statue, here, in his native city!
A statue made by Carrier-Belleuse and melt by Thiébaud, inaugurated in August 15th 1869 by Napoleon III.
They represented Masséna during the Essling battle (1809). We have an allegory of History. Low-reliefs represent Zurich battle (1799) and Genoa surrender (1800). You know what?
They criticized a lot that statue, at that time: they said Masséna’s head was too small, regarding the body, and that nobody could see the muse at the bottom of the composition...