The Sans-culotte, the People’s Choice

In fairness I thought we ought to explore the working drones of the Third Estate, the sans-culotte.

the Bonnet Rouge

The sans-culotte, with their pantaloons ,utilitarian skirts and modest fichu  obviously lack the glamour of our beloved Aristo-loving Merveliluisse and Incroyables; that said a visual journey is in order to gain a greater understanding of what happened during the course of a few bloody years.

As members of the Third Estate, which represented 95 percent of France’s population at the time, their garb was in sharp contrast to aristocratic fashion. As the Revolution progressed, nobility pared down the sumptuous aspects of their apparel. Even poor dear Louis XVI was forced to don the Phrygian cap ( bonnet rouge).

My heart breaks for the Queen, she was mortified. From what I have read Louis was more pragmatic about the situation, perhaps recognizing more vividly the symbolic power this silly little cockaded hat had .

The symbolism of the cockade’s coloring represented moderate forces at work; the white of his Majesty mingled with the red and blue of France.

Too bad the red became more emblematic of spilt blood.

The Phrygian cap of course has noble and ancient roots, long associated with the liberty loving Phrygians.

Bust of Attis

2nd century

Hadrian’s reign

This bust is thought to bear a resemblence to his beloved Antinous, certainly  a pretty boy.

If Lady Liberté felt it prudent to adorn herself with the Bonnet Rouge;mere mortals with less radical notions also felt it wise to blend in with the Great Unwashed.The coiffures so admired and emblematic of the now despised ancien regime, had fallen deeply out of favor.

Street fashion became THE fashion.

Armed to the teeth and itchin’ for a fight.

Note how the lower class women were free to expose  their ankles.

A rather romantic image of a sans-culotte, a fresh clean, blood-less pike,

as of yet…

This fellow seems more prepared for the September Massacres of ’92.

I may never forgive the sans-culotte, anymore then I can understand Bastille Day, but I do want to understand and appreciate the oppression that drove such mind-numbing violence.  Those living abroad, including the Brits were baffled by the savagery . Political cartoons appeared lampooning the revolutionary excesses.

Gallows humor perhaps.

political cartoon

George Cruishank

British

1819

I really like the Mad Guillotine complete with a bonnet rouge.

Another cartoon by Cruishank follows.

Again, the same marvelously animated Death Machines.

Dancing about the Liberty Tree, note Bastille looming in the background.

British cartoon

1792

After the September Massacres of 1792, the British were particularly disturbed by the barbarity.

We were fortunate that our own quest for liberty was far less bloody.

As we continue our quest for democracy, the image of the sans-culotte still has relevance. In my research I stumbled upon this image from Irag. I thought it a fitting end for this conversation. Please check out the site from which this arresting image was pulled, IraqWar.html

Good Night Gentle Citoyen.

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One Response to “The Sans-culotte, the People’s Choice”

  1. Why on earth would you want to celebrate this monstrous mass murdering and thieving unelected dictator. LIBERTE EGALITE FRATERNITE

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