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An exhausted mother gives birth before a crowd of French officials; symbolising the birth of the ideas of the July Revolution and their troubled patrimony in the hands of contemporary politicians. Lithograph by E. Forest after J. Grandville, 1831, after Eugène Devéria, 1827.

  • Devéria, Eugène, 1805-1865.
Date
[1831]
Reference
16375i
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About this work

Description

The print ironically depicts the fruits of the labour pains of 'la mère patrie' in the July Revolution; she holds the dates of the insurrection in her left hand. The baby represents the 'juste milieu' (golden mean), a new beginning after the "troubled childhood of Liberty" in the revolutionary years. It was at first a political system, extolled by Dupin, Thiers and Casimir-Perier, that aimed to create a 'balance' between libertarian and monarchical ideas. Soon, however, with the nepotism and corruption of Louis Philippe, Guizot and other politicians shown here, the term began to acquire an ironic sense for many people. Hence the baby is referred to here as 'this monstrous abortion'. The 'godfather', dressed in revolutionary gear, holds the baby; Casimir-Perier touches the mother; Guizot holds the forceps; on the far right, Dupin rubs his hands in pleasure; Baron Athalin holds some letters; Shonen is on his knees ("as usual"); bottom, a dwarfish Thiers makes fun of a cockerel

Publication/Creation

Paris (Passage Véro-Dodat) : Aubert, [1831] (Lith. de Delaporte)

Physical description

1 print : lithograph ; image 27.4 x 22.9 cm

Lettering

Naissance du juste milieu. J.I. Grandville. E. Forest ...

Lettering note

Lettering continues: La caricature (journal) Après un enfantement pénible de la liberté. Le parrain de l'enfant montre au peuple cet embryon monstreux. Casim P. veut donner un coup de pouce a l'accouchée souffrante. Guiz tient le forceps. Dup le docteur se frotte les mains de plaisir, Lancelot tient ses adoucissans tous prets. le baron Ath. porte les lettres de faire part Sebast et sa nourrice. Schon toujours a genoux. le petit Th. et le grand poulet Gaulois au quel il fait le nique. [On flags, left to right:] 1831, 1832. [On the mother's note paper:] 27.28.29 Juill[et]
Bears numbers : N.66

Reference

Wellcome Library no. 16375i

Reproduction note

Parody of Eugène Devéria's painting of the birth of Henri IV, painted in 1827 and acquired by the Louvre in 1828

Languages

  • French


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