tirsdag den 20. august 2013

Disgraced and Despaired

This is probably one of the most famous caricatures of Louis XVI from the time of the French revolution. Obviously, the dethroned King is drinking heavily to the health of the sans-culottes but it is not wine flowing from the bottle; instead the words "Vive la Nation" flows to the royal mouth. But it is the red cap that is probably the most humiliating symbol in this caricature. It is a Phrygian cap which was the symbol of the revolutionaries during the revolution. It even has the rosette chosen by the revolutionaries where the white colour is surrounded by the blue and red symbolizes Paris. And all the while the King is also wearing his royal orders and medals but the normally sky-blue sash has been replaced by a blood-red. The text below delivers a warning:
"Louis XVI having put on the Phrygian cap, cried out "Long live the Nation!". He drank a toast to the sans-culottes and did much to appear calm. He spoke with high-sounding words about how he never feared the law, that he had never feared to be in the midst of the people; finally he pretended to play a personal part in the insurrection of June 20. Well! The same Louis XVI who bravely waits until his fellow citizens return to their hearths to plan a secret war and exact his revenge."
The caricature was created and published in 1792 just a few months before the former King's execution.


Tinted etching of Louis XVI, 1792. The caption refers to the date of the Tennis Court Oath and concludes "The same Louis XVI who bravely waits until his fellow citizens return to their hearths to plan a secret war and exact his revenge."

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