Friday Forays: Pretty Drinks with Napoleon
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) is one of Richmond’s premier cultural venues and we are so lucky to have it. Amuse, the fine restaurant atop the VMFA, also houses one of our favorite cocktail bars. How fortunate then, that we found ourselves on a recent Friday off to spend the afternoon at both. Napoleon was in residence, with the visiting exhibit displaying the splendors of his reign.
In their own words, our VMFA friends invite us to…
Step inside the private world of Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821) for an up-close encounter with the propaganda machine that modernized and legitimized his reign as self-titled Emperor in the wake of the French Revolution. Corsican by birth and French by design, Napoleon was a man of continual reinvention—a minor nobleman and military general whose political ambition inspired his every move.
Discover the exquisite works of art that crafted Napoleon’s image and the Imperial Household that supported his audacious rise to power. More than 200 works of art—many of which have never before been exhibited in the United States—reveal the intricacies of the Emperor’s daily life and the range of works commissioned by and for him. This exhibition of international loans includes major masterpieces of painting, an array of decorative arts, sculptures, engravings, and more….
Napoleon: Power and Splendor was stunning, as you can see from the photos.
You will need to hurry if you would like to see it, however, as the exhibit departs VMFA September 3.
As we soaked in all the beautiful objets d’art of the Power and the Splendor, a feast for the eyes, a feast of a different sort awaited upstairs at Amuse: The happy hour kind. Here is one of our very favorite features at Amuse: the bar offers cocktails themed to the current exhibit. So we availed ourselves of some of the Napoleon-inspired concoctions with delightful names such as The Josephine, The Corsican, Waterloo, Exile in Elba, and Coup d’etat.
It was all so fabulous on a warm summer afternoon, taking in the view of the museum grounds from the restaurant’s high windows, while we waited for our cocktails and cheese plate. From Amuse’s 3rd floor perch, you have a birds-eye view of the gardens, also filled with incredible sculptures–an outdoor gallery, really.
As far as I am concerned the best plan is to see the exhibit(s) early in the afternoon and then head up to Amuse as lunch turns into happy hour, before the in-crowd starts to arrive….like around 4PM. But certainly stay for dinner if so inclined. It’s highly recommended. Having dinner on the outdoor dining patio is always a treat, especially at dusk. I love to see the gorgeous Chihuly red glass “reeds” sculpture that is installed right below the patio come to light as it gets dark.
Another perfect Boomer day.
Again I am reminded, and in turn wish to remind our readers, how relatively easy it is to create the perfect day. Richmond has VMFA and Amuse, but every city of substantial size has its own cultural venues. Often we live out our days and never take advantage of these offerings until friends come into town and we want to take them touring. I have often been guilty of such. No more! Let’s change this behavior and start enjoying what is right in our backyard. Be a tourist in your own hometown!
See you out there. Or better yet, come with us on our Friday Forays. All are welcome.