Victory! The factory of heroes
From 11 October 2023
to 28 January 2024
Musée de l’Armée – Invalides
129 rue de Grenelle : side Esplanade des Invalides
2 place Vauban : side Dôme des Invalides
As the Olympic and Paralympic Games of 2024 approach, the Museum of the Army dedicates an exhibition to the concept of Victory and the various ways in which women and men have experienced, celebrated, and materialized it throughout the world and history.
The exhibition “Victory! The Making of Heroes” explores the different phases that follow a victory, from its celebration to its commemoration, including its staging and its place in collective memory. Trophies, spoils, rewards, and ceremonies serve to materialize and represent success, even to preserve it as heritage.
Front page of the 8 May 1945 newspaper
© Paris Musées / Musée de la Libération de Paris – musée du général Leclerc – musée Jean Moulin
From Roman triumphs to parades on the Champs-Élysées, from royal banquets to award ceremonies, paying homage to heroes is a ritual that spans the ages. Preserving and transmitting the memory of these victories is equally important. Narratives, songs, artistic representations, steles, monuments, decorations, and even merchandise ensure the longevity of victory, often driven by strategic, political, or commercial interests. It’s worth noting that there is no victor without a vanquished.
Victory results from a clash between adversaries, followed by a sometimes subtle distinction between the winner and the loser. While defeat is often linked to shame, it can also be used as a means of exorcism, understanding, or even revenge. Some failures can be constructive if lessons are drawn from them, becoming factors of social cohesion or reform.
Words like “Victory,” “trophy,” “reward,” and “glory” are familiar, but do we truly understand their meaning? The exhibition “Victory! The Making of Heroes” deciphers the various ways in which men and women have established, consecrated, or celebrated their victories across a wide range of fields, from war to the arts, including sports, hunting, and politics.
From Antiquity to the present day, on every continent, the artworks and objects displayed throughout the exhibition showcase the universality of victory and the emotions it evokes.
Commissariat – musée de l’armée
Sylvie Leluc, Heritage Curator, Head of the Collections and Heritage Department
Christophe Pommier, Deputy Head of the Artillery Department
Grégory Spourdos, deputy to the head of the exhibitions and museography department
Jade Garcin, assistant to the exhibition curator