Title: Boissy d´Anglas salutes Deputy Féraud at the National Convention, May 20, 1795
Author : TELLIER Jean-Auguste (-)
Creation date : 1830
Date shown: May 20, 1795
Dimensions: Height 85 - Width 110
Technique and other indications: Oil on canvas Presented at the 1830 competition for the Chamber of Deputies, not retained; Libert collection; purchase, 1900
Storage location: National Museum of the Palace of Versailles (Versailles) website
Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais
Boissy d´Anglas salutes Deputy Féraud at the National Convention, May 20, 1795
© Photo RMN-Grand Palais
Publication date: October 2003
After the fall of Robespierre on 9 Thermidor Year II (27 July 1794), the sans-culottes, who had hardly reacted to support him, very quickly felt that the Thermidorian reaction was going against their interests. The freedom of prices regained after the abolition of the law of the general maximum (4 Nivôse year III, 24 December 1794) led to an outbreak which, added to bad harvests and a very harsh winter, caused a surge of the popular classes cornered by the famine. But the days of 12 Germinal (April 1, 1795) and 1st Prairial Year III (May 20) did not come to an end: the sans-culottes had lost their leaders. On May 20, starving workers from the suburbs invaded the Assembly and beheaded MP Féraud, who was trying to intervene. Following this event, several mountain deputies nostalgic for the Robespierriste Terror, Prior of the Marne, Romme, Bouchotte, Soubrany, Duroy and Duquesnoy, who had remained seated in solidarity with the rioters, were arrested and guillotined.
In September 1830, Guizot, President of Louis-Philippe's Council, launched a competition to ultimately select three paintings to decorate the Chamber of Deputies. The program had been scrupulously established: "Louis-Philippe taking the oath in the constitutional chamber on August 29, 1830" was to be framed by "Mirabeau replying to the Marquis de Dreux-Brézé on June 23, 1789" and "Boissy d'Anglas saluting the head of Féraud the 1st prairial year III ”. Applicants could cover any of these three topics. Of the many artists who entered this competition, fifty-three chose to represent Boissy d'Anglas. Among them, Hennequin, an old painter who emigrated to Belgium who was very involved in the events of the end of the Convention and the Directory, and, more or less actively, in the Babouvist plot, but also Delacroix (Bordeaux museum), Alexandre Evariste Fragonard (Louvre museum), Paul Chenavard (Carnavalet museum), Roehn (Tarbes), Vinchon (Tours), Court, etc. Without demerit, Tellier delivered a work quite similar to the others where the popular push made the deputies disappear in the mob of sans-culottes. A large diagonal marked by the spike at the end of which Féraud's head is planted points towards the platform where Boissy d'Anglas stands and framed by the Declarations of Human Rights. The dignified but fearful gesture of the president who salutes his slain colleague is opposed to the posturing of the sans-culottes and the knitters. Yet this mob seems to respect national representation: the figures closest to Boissy d'Anglas, in gestures of supplication, submit petitions to him. In this painting, Tellier did not seek to condemn the people, but to show his distress: only misery takes him to such extremes, so he must be listened to.
Tellier's painting was eliminated by the jury because of its bloodiness and undoubtedly this indulgence towards the people, Tellier did not produce his painting. It was Vinchon who won the day. But his canvas, completed in 1834, was never put in place: it was feared that the subject would stir up too many tragic memories and be perceived as a condemnation of the people. Indeed, many artists, including Court, unlike Tellier, had shown the people in unflattering, almost caricatural features.
Through the three subjects of the competition, it was a question of inscribing the new regime in the revolutionary tradition, but a constitutional revolution, qualified since of "bourgeois". The action of Mirabeau, a nobleman who broke the ban, marked the entry of the bourgeoisie into government with an anti-absolutist gesture, but not anti-royalist: it was the constitutional monarchy that was celebrated. As for the day of the 1st Prairial, it marked the resistance of the bourgeois assembly, even republican, in the face of any extremist, Jacobin and workers' drift. The Terror was carefully erased from the program planned by Guizot, and the last scene was to appear as the culmination of this revolution of freedom and order.
The competition of 1830 marked a first step towards the creation of the Versailles museum. Wishing to present himself as the culmination of all political tendencies, provided they were parliamentarists, Louis-Philippe sought from that time to be part of the history of France, without denying the Revolution to which, as a young liberal prince, he had participated in fighting in Jemappes. But the program of 1830 was too marked politically to be able to really succeed: the success of the museum of Versailles is due to the fact that the Revolution is integrated, and like drowned, in the history of France.
- revolutionary days
- sans culottes
- National convention
- Louis Philippe
Claire CONSTANSCatalogue of paintings from the National Museum of the Palace of Versailles, tI, p.244, n ° 1365.Albert-Alfred POMME DE MIRIMONDE “Pierre-Maximilien Delafontaine, pupil of David”, in La Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 1956.Dominique POULOT “Alexandre Lenoir and the French Monuments Museum” in Pierre NORA (under the direction of) Memorial place, tome II “La nation” Paris, Gallimard, 1988, re-ed. “Quarto”, 1997.
To cite this article
Jérémie BENOÎT, "Boissy d'Anglas"