Portrait of Madame Roland

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Portrait of Madame Roland

France, Paris, probably 1792-1793
Marble on original marble socle
Overall: 29 × 19 × 12 in. (73.66 × 48.26 × 30.48 cm)
Purchased with funds provided by the William Randolph Hearst Collection by exchange and other donors (91.1a-b)
Currently on public view:
Ahmanson Building, floor 3 MAP IT
Ahmanson Building, floor 3

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Curator Notes

Here, artist François Masson has restored for Madame Roland what she lost in life: her head....
Here, artist François Masson has restored for Madame Roland what she lost in life: her head. Guillotined for her outspoken political beliefs, her ideas of republicanism and the political influence she retained through her husband made her a notable character in the French Revolution.

During the French Revolution, as political moderation fell out of favor, the revolutionary Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre ordered the arrest of the Madame Roland and her husband, whose portrait is seen here, on her brooch. While he escaped prison, she accepted her fate as a martyr for her beliefs, and was executed on November 8, 1793. Upon hearing of her death, her husband threw himself onto his sword.

The memoirs Madame Roland produced while in prison continued to propagate the republican ideals for which she so willingly gave her life, securing her legacy as a female heroine of the Revolution.