Archive for the Louis XVI Category

A Moment for Louis XVI

Posted in 18th century, Bourbon monarchy, Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Recquiscat in Pace, Sans-culotte, Uncategorized on January 20, 2011 by babylonbaroque

As it is now 5:15 am in the city of Paris, in a few hours there will be an opportunity to either celebrate or mourn depending upon your ideology. Two hundred and eighteen years ago, Louis Auguste de France,better known as Louis XVI, King of France and Navarre was executed on the 21st of January 1793; the maddening crowds who had  gathered to see the only king of France executed, let out “shouts of joy” at 10:30 am.

The King was dead.

I am only an armchair historian, dilettantish at best; but I am romantic, Louis’s tale is tragic, I merely want to honor his death.


Louis XVI

portrait rondel

1787

Philippe-Laurent Roland

1746-1816

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Often remembered as the king who wished to be a locksmith, Marie Antoinette’s star burnt much brighter, her image more glamorous , it is easy for the casual historian to overlook Louis XVI. From the accounts I have read, he was a man of intelligence and devotion to God, his country, and his family. His indecisiveness has been recently attributed to symptoms of clinical depression; as the spouse of a psychologist, I am eager to look into this.

But as I said I am not a historian, for now, I will just present images of the late king.


Louis XVI, King of France

painted porcelain

18th century

Louis XVI

aged 22

b.23rd august 1754

d.21st January 1793

King of France and Navarre 1174-1791

King of the French 1791-1792

painted 1776

Joseph-Siffred Duplessis

1725-1802

Musée national du Chåteau et des Trianons

Versailles

Recquiscat in Pace

As King of the French, the king and his image underwent many humiliations;this engraving from happier times, 1775, was defaced in 1792, the king now known as Louis Capet is seen wearing the phrygian cap of the sans-culotte. It’s an unfortunate image.

source

Ultimately the king and his family endured being separated from one another when the comfort of family was most needed.

Louis XVI at the Tour du Temple

Jean-Francois Garneray

1755-1837

Death of Louis XVI,King of France

English Engraving

1798

If interested, and you are fluent in French, there is a site devoted to the late king.

Musically the memory of the king lives on,the following Funeral March for the Death of the King LouisXVI by Pavel Wranitzky carries the torch for his majesty.

Pavel Wranitzky

1756-1808

Over two centuries ago Louis Capet was having his prayerbook fetched at six o’clock in the morning.

Say a little prayer for the man.

Respectfully submitted,

Babylon Baroque


The Sans-culotte, the People’s Choice

Posted in 18th century, Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Sans-culotte on August 11, 2010 by babylonbaroque

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.

Bastille Day, a dark cloud overhead.

Posted in 18th century, Bastille Day, Bourbon monarchy, Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette on July 13, 2010 by babylonbaroque

France may celebrate this day, the anniversary of the storming of  the Bastille, July 14th 1789; but for this particular Monarchist smug and snug in the States, it is a dark day.

I can only imagine the anxiety Louis felt when he realized that the unthinkable had begun, did he try to hide the reality from the Queen, how long did they cling to denial. I read the sad, sad tale over and over, always hoping it will end differently. Hoping that their get-away carriage will at last bring them to safety, but like Violetta in La Traviata, there is never a happy ending.

In that spirit I put together this little daub, a watercolor play on the famous portrait of the Queen by Le Brun, I pretentiously titled it “The Death of Monarchy”.

don’t snicker when you see the Le Brun.

Maria Antoinette a la Rose (aged 28)

b. November 2nd 1755

d. October 16th 1793

12:15 p.m.

painted by  Louise Elizabeth Vigee le Brun, a loyal friend to the Queen

I can only view this day as a day of foreboding , the scandalous images that surrounded the Queen, the humiliation the King had to endure, this day was the beginning of the Terror.

I prefer to remember them like this :

Louis XVI

b. August 23rd 1754

d. January 21st 1793

by Antoine Francois Callet

Soon enough poor Louis would meet his fate in ’93.

and the traitorous David would make one last sketch of the blessed Queen, later that year.

Happy Bastille Day

monument to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette

Saint Denis Basilica