Sunday, 13 July 2014

The King with Two Faces

Fig. 7 Le roi Janus ou l’homme à deux visages, Paris, musée Carnavalet, Cabinet des arts graphiques, G.025643 Hist PC 16B

"The Man With Two Faces" was published anonymously - as always - at the very end of Louis XVI's reign; sometime between the failed Flight to Varennes and the King's acceptance of the Constitution to be exact. The latter is actually the main theme of the pamphlet which shows the King's face towards the clergyman swearing "I will destroy the constitution" (notice his crown is falling off) while on the other hand he says "I will support the constitution". This is a perfect example of how the King was viewed after the failed attempt to flee to Varennes which in the eyes of the anti-royalists was a clear sign that he was deceitful.  

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