Wednesday, March 18, 2020

"The Two Are But One"

From The Met:
During the first years of the French Revolution, King Louis XVI was rarely ridiculed in prints. It was only after the night of June 20, 1791 - when he and his family attempted to flee Paris for a Royalist stronghold, where he hoped to begin a counterrevolution - that popular opinion turned more decidedly against him. Louis and Queen Marie-Antoinette then became frequent targets of French caricaturists, who often depicted them in a sort of reverse anthropomorphism, as animals with human heads. Here, the royal couple is portrayed as a two-headed creature that pulls in opposite directions. The king is given the body of a pig and the horns of a cuckold, a reference to his wife's many rumored affairs; the queen, with the body of a hyena, sports a fancy headdress of serpents and ostrich feathers, the latter a pun on her Austrian heritage (autruche and Autriche) (Read more.)

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