Paris: City of Light

Politics Attacks Caricature


Parisian Salons
 ~Salons of   Enlightenment
 ~Madame de   Stäel         
~Salons of the   Restoration
 ~The Salons of   Victor Hugo

Influence of Printed Materials
 ~Pre-Revolutionary   Timeline
 ~Post-Revolutionary   Timeline


Defining the Parisians
 ~Parisians Viewed   by Foreigners
 ~Parisians   Viewed by   Themselves
 ~Paris Fashion




Image 2.11 Est-Elle Bien Morte? [Is She Truly Dead?], anonymous, April 18, 1852, Royal Library of Blegium (de la Motte, 67).

After Louis-Napoleon's coup d'etat in 1851, caricature art could no longer be openly offensive of the French government. The ruler (self-declared, in this case) was completely off-limits, and Louis-Napoleon eventually ordered the suspension of all forms of political critique. There was strict enfocement of censorship laws, but resisting artists soon found loopholes to create images like the one above. Many continued their work outside of Paris anonymously. This example shows Louis-Napoleon standing victoriously over the dead body of Liberty. Her coffin reads "Born 1848, died 1851" to indicate that the emperor's seizure of power murdered the freedom of France. In the background hangs a picture of Daumier's symbolizing repression. Despite the devastation throughout the image, a questioning title suggests that perhaps the liberty of the people is not gone forever...and the very existence of this image is further proof that individual creativity cannot be destroyed by laws.