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Through Me You Are All Brothers

Source

Reflecting the sentiments of the French Revolution, this image shows the three orders unified by religion. The Virgin standing at right in a cloud holds a cross from which rays emanate to three figures representing the clergy, nobility, and Third Estate. A hooded figure with a serpent’s tail, representing the dangerous traditionalism of the old regime, clings to the robes of the priest and... Read More »

Toussaint L’Ouverture

Toussaint L’Ouverture

Source

A slave inspired by the French Revolution’s egalitarianism, Toussaint saw himself as French and struggled for French control of the island of Saint Domingue. Nonetheless, he had no intention of letting whites rule, for he wanted blacks to control their own destinies. By 1801 he had conquered the entire island for France and for his fellow slaves. His personal success would not last beyond the... Read More »

Engraving of transplanting teeth thumbnail image

Transplanting Teeth

Source

This print is by Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827) and is dated 1787. It is a satirical comment upon the real practice of rich gentlemen and ladies of the 18th century paying for teeth to be pulled from poor children and transplanted in their gums. The dentist present is portrayed as a quack. There are even two quacking ducks on the placard advertising his fake credentials. He is busy pulling... Read More »

Trial of Marie Antoinette of Austria

Source

Some months after the execution of her husband, Marie Antoinette found herself in the dock of the public prosecutor, Antoine Quentin Fouquier–Tinville. The intervention of the radical journalist Jacques–René Hébert had pushed her case to the top, and she was accused most notably of immorality and treason. She defended herself bravely and calmly, as the above image suggests. But the judgment... Read More »

Triumph of Napoleon, First Consul

Source

Napoleon encouraged comparisons between the post-revolution French republic and the Roman republic. The French adoption of the term "Consul" was a clear reference to the Roman Republic, for that was the name given the men chosen to direct the republican government in Roman times.

Detail of an engraving showing Saint Peter's cathedral ca. 1587

Vatican Library

Review
But the best use of this site might be to accept it as an exhibit and encourage students to wander through it themselves, stopping where they choose, so that they discover the beauty and variety of the collection.
Engraving of View of the Mound of Champ de la Reunion

View of the Mound of Champ de la Reunion

Source

In this watercolor of the Festival of the Supreme Being, we see a procession that includes a woman wearing a Phrygian cap paraded past a statue of Hercules holding two smaller statues of Liberty and Equality, towards a Liberty tree, atop the hill. In the foreground, a patriotic woman explains the meaning of the spectacle to her young son, an allegory of the didactic intent of the entire... Read More »

We Must Hope That It Will Soon Be Over

Source

A common complaint of pre-revolutionary rural petitions was the abuse of seigneurial dues owed by French peasants to lords supposedly in exchange for protection and supervision. This image demonstrates the view that peasants envisioned their lords not as protectors, but as exploiters who constantly turned the screws on them to extract ever more rent or other payments.

Detail of Durer's "Last Supper" from his Passion series showing Jesus holding one of his disciples

Wetmore Print Collection

Review
While the responsibility of providing historical context for these images remains with the instructor, the images themselves will delight and puzzle students—and, if they are properly prepared, will provide good insight into the historical periods in question as well.

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