Fat beef and carnival in the XIXe century

Fat beef and carnival in the XIX<sup>e</sup> century

  • Order and market of the fatty beef.

  • Order and progress of the fatty ox, leaving the slaughterhouse of Roule.

  • Le Boeuf Gras, Place Vendôme.

    BAYARD Hippolyte (1801 - 1887)

  • The order and the march of the fatty ox.

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Title: Order and market of the fatty beef.

Author :

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 50.2 - Width 42.7

Technique and other indications: Wire wood.

Storage location: MuCEM website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - G. Blot website

Picture reference: 04-509629 / 56.120.18 D

Order and market of the fatty beef.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - G. Blot

To close

Title: Order and progress of the fatty ox, leaving the slaughterhouse of Roule.

Author :

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 31.8 - Width 38.5

Technique and other indications: Wood grain, laid. Between 1835 and 1853.

Storage location: MuCEM website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - J.-G. Berizzisite web

Picture reference: 05-533185 / 995.14.95C

Order and progress of the fatty ox, leaving the slaughterhouse of Roule.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - J.-G. Berizzi

To close

Title: Le Boeuf Gras, Place Vendôme.

Author : BAYARD Hippolyte (1801 - 1887)

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 20.7 - Width 25.4

Technique and other indications: Print on salted paper. Around 1910. The Foie Gras festival took place during Mardi Gras, in February. Kodak-Pathé Fund

Storage location: Orsay Museum website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - R. G. Ojedasite web

Picture reference: 01-021234 / PHO1983-165-146

Le Boeuf Gras, Place Vendôme.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - R. Ojeda

To close

Title: The order and the march of the fatty ox.

Author :

Creation date : 1897

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 65 - Width 49

Technique and other indications: Print.

Storage location: MuCEM website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - J.-G. Berizzisite web

Picture reference: 04-509667 / 64.64.35 D

The order and the march of the fatty ox.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - J.-G. Berizzi

Publication date: March 2016

Historical context

The origins of the festival of fatty beef

Born in medieval times on the initiative of the corporation of butchers, the feast of the fatty beef took place during the carnival of Paris and saw one or more oxen, chosen for their heavy weight in meat, parade under the leadership of butcher boys. to the sound of the hurdy-gurdy. A stained glass window from the Saint-Étienne church in Bar-sur-Seine, donated in 1552 by the city's brotherhood of butchers, offers the oldest representation of such a procession.

The feast of the fattened ox took place during the period known as the "Shrove Days", a prosperous period which interrupts the time of Lent and sees the carnival reborn for the last time. The Revolution put an end to this very popular custom: subject to suspicion like all carnival celebrations, the festival was abolished in 1790, in the name of maintaining public order. Restored by Napoleon Ier in 1805, it was again abolished in 1848, this time by the Republic, abolition which was short-lived since Napoleon III authorized it again in 1852. This celebration, which represented one of the highlights of the Paris carnival, met a success that was not denied until the end of the 19th centurye century, despite some interruptions due to the war and then to the crisis facing the profession of butchers.

Image Analysis

The procession of fatty beef in Paris in the 19th centurye century

Diaries, engravings, paintings, songs and vaudevilles bear witness to this success, such as the very famous one in two acts by Paul de Kock in 1845. The feast is generally announced in a program which specifies the order followed by the procession and its route. across Paris. This Parisian woodcut engraving thus shows a caparisoned ox decorated with garlands of flowers led by men dressed as savages and armed with heavy clubs. Behind them come figures dressed in contemporary or folkloric clothes and Mamluk horsemen.

This other engraving on laid paper, dated 1835, testifies to this mixture of eras and civilizations which characterizes the carnival. It represents the procession of fatty beef as it leaves the Roule slaughterhouse, an establishment created by Napoleon Ier in 1810 on the outskirts of Paris. At the head marches a mighty flowery ox, flanked by two men disguised as feathered savages and a rider guard in motley costumes. Behind them appears a chariot driven by a strange mythological figure decked out in angel wings and holding the scythe of Death. The text printed under the engraving indicates the route that the procession must follow in the streets of the capital on Sunday and then Shrove Tuesday. The details he provides on the size and weight of the ox are there to explain the choice and acquisition of this animal at a cattle market.

The Fête du Bœuf Gras also had its photographers: a photograph of Hippolyte Bayard (1801-1887), one of the pioneers of photography and the inventor of a direct positive photographic process on paper, represents the procession in place Vendôme in 1852, when it had just been authorized again by Napoleon III. The high-angle shot highlights the scale of the protest, which is attended by a compact crowd under close police surveillance.

This newspaper page, dated 1897, testifies to the enduring popularity of the Fête du bœuf gras: tiny in the burlesque illustration that dresses the text, the procession makes onlookers jubilant, and the police seem overwhelmed. Pierrot and Esmeralda recall that the parade takes place during the carnival. Describing in the menu "the order and the march of the fatty ox", the article also abounds in detail on the number of oxen, the disguises of the participants or the composition of each of the very many floats which will follow the procession. That year, the festival had a considerable impact, with nearly six hundred thousand spectators massed in the streets, and was filmed by Georges Méliès and the Lumière brothers.

Interpretation

A carnival party

If the feast of the beef has its own origins and identity, its history is no less confused with that of the carnival. First of all because, like him, she is at the heart of the festivities of Shrove Days, then because she adopts the same festivities, with her costumed characters, borrowed from history, folklore or mythology, in particular. the half-naked savages who are the central figures of the carnival, and like him gives rise to a sumptuous parade.

In the XIXe century, this festival could not but arouse a general craze: symbolic of bombing in the middle of Lent, it aroused the same kind of joy as the carnival. In addition, its rural character appealed to urban populations, and its commercial dimension satisfied the values ​​promoted by the bourgeoisie. The authorities, who feared above all debauchery and carnival excesses, for their part appreciated its organization in the form of a parade of floats: it was easy for them to control a procession with a route fixed in advance and to contain the crowd of spectators attracted to the event. Fallen into oblivion in the 1950s, the event has experienced a revival since the end of the 20th centurye century.

  • carnival
  • Paris

Bibliography

Pier Giovanni D'AYALA and Martine BOITEUX (dir.), Carnivals and masquerades, Paris, Bordas, 1988.Julio CARO-BAROJA, Le Carnaval, Paris, Gallimard, 1979.Daniel FABRE, Carnival or the Party upside down, Paris , Gallimard, coll. "Découvertes", 1992.John GRAND-CARTERET, Le Carnaval et le bœuf gras, [sl], in The Illustrated Reading, March 10, 1897. Oleg KOCHTCHOUK, The Carnival, rites, festivals and traditions, Yens-sur-Morges, Cabédita , 2001.Basile PACHKOFF, Proposal for the reestablishment of the Fête de Paris, known as the promenade du bœuf (s) gras, Paris, Éd. from the Flying Leaf, 1994.

To cite this article

Charlotte DENOËL, "Fatty beef and carnival in the XIXe century "


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