Mercury, an agent of the Terror, carries Capucin Chabot naked towards a furnace; recording the turnover of human life during the Terror in the French Revolution. Coloured aquatint, ca. 1794.
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About this work
This print was made during the Terror and refers to Franc̦ois Chabot, a Capuchin friar turned revolutionary, who attempted to wed Christianity to revolutionary politics but ended as another victim of the Terror, executed along with Danton. Here he is about to be 'regenerated' in a stove, an illustration of contemporary anti-humanism. The jar at the top appears to contain 'rob antisyphilitique', a French syrup; Helfand suggests that this is an allusion to Robespierre. Pills of bellost are purgative, containing mercury and aloe resin.
Régénération du capucin Chabot. Ou alliez vous M.r l'abbé. Robantisiphisitique. Pilules de Belost. Le V. me crible jusqu'aux os.
1 print : aquatint, with watercolour ; platemark 16.2 x 11.5 cm
William Helfand, 'Medicine and pharmacy in French political prints', 24th International Congress of the History of Medicine; Budapest, 1974. Acta. vol. 2, 1976; p. 1158
Wellcome Library no. 16028i