Here, Gerard sketched a microcosmic drama depicting the people’s triumph on the 10th of August, a key event in the French Revolution: the people stand powerful, armed with their pointed fingers and aggressive postures, while the king and queen lurk helplessly behind bars. The composition of the work adds to this drama by relegating the royal duo to the background. In a similar spirit, the works of the playwright Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (1732-1799), which gave rise to the fictional character of Figaro, openly criticized aristocratic authority in the years before the Revolution. In works by Beaumarchais, Figaro uses his cunning to quietly manipulate the Count Almaviva, taking a more covert approach than Gerard’s bourgeoisie, who employ vehement disapproval and violence to overthrow Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
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