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Louis as No More Than a Man

Part of the revolutionary undermining of the monarchy becomes evident in this profile of Louis XVI, shown here without his wig or finery.

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Louis as a Drunkard

This image of Louis, already altered by commoner attire and a Phrygian cap, added a raised bottle. This transformation could scarcely have been anticipated even a year or two into the Revolution.

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Louis as a Drinker

The arrest of the King prompted an outpouring of sentiment against Louis. Like his grandfather, Louis XV, whose early reputation as "Louis the Well–Loved" faded by the end of his long reign, Louis XVI now became the focus for all sorts of discontents. This image depicting Louis as incapable of governing himself, let alone France, reveals the depth of the scorn expressed.

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Louis XVI, King of the French, born 23 August 1754.

Early in the Revolution, LaFayette was among the most visible and popular leaders, in part because of his participation in the American revolution and his relationship to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and others. Further, though noble, he had been sympathetic to the Third Estate.

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Long Live Liberty

Cartoonists extrapolated more and more on a new Louis as the Revolution went along. Here, a rather rumpled King, dressed more like a shopkeeper than a monarch, opens a cage to let liberty out. Many scholars argue that the King was already desacralized as much as a couple of decades before the Revolution.

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Saucière with Phrygian Bonnet

The Phrygian cap seems to be everywhere during the Revolution.

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Louis XVI, King of the French

This fascinating print, likely produced before the King’s flight from Paris, takes the Louis XVI of the old regime and makes him a revolutionary with the addition of the Phrygian cap. While the engraver’s intention remains absolutely unknown, contemporaries might have seen this as mocking Louis’s new position in the Revolution.

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Cup: Louis XVI

Louis XVI’s old regime image graced china as well as coinage.

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Louis XVI, King of France

Another old regime vision of monarchy.

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Louis XVI

Here was the "body politic" of the old regime. Theoretically, France existed only as an entity in the body of the King. The citizens were his subjects; the geographical parts linked together only through the monarch. Robed and wigged, he was an emblem of a centuries–old regime.

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