He further bolstered his power and reputation through his reinstitution of the aristocracy. Hoping to create loyal allies for his government and wanting to use titles as a reward for dedicated service to the regime, Napoleon renewed the traditional French pomp and court etiquette. Napoleon did not personally like the resulting formalities, but wanted to create a certain image that would reinforce his prestige and power, and earn him ever more respect. If such rules of protocol were not enforced, Napoleon feared, people would be "slapping me on the back whenever they saw me."

Napoleon thus worked hard to create an image of grandeur and heroism for his regime. He showered Josephine with expensive gifts, and he made all his brothers and sisters royalty of minor places throughout the regions under his control. He modeled his court on that of Louis XIV's (The "Sun King"). In art, Napoleon favored the Neoclassical, and French art incorporated styles from Greco-Roman and Egyptian influences. Under Napoleon, an "Empire Style" was created, primarily promoted by David's paintings. Even furniture was selected to reinforce the Napoleonic image. Stools used on the battlefield were crafted to look like Roman chairs. Napoleonic furniture and textiles constantly reiterated his symbols: the bee and the pineapple. Napoleon even commissioned customized silverware. Meanwhile, Josephine, like a 19th-century version of Imelda Marcos, possessed perhaps the largest assembly of jewels ever gathered in one place. When she died in 1814, the Bonapartes' favorite house, the Chateau de Malmoison, had 3 million francs' worth of jewelry in it.

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