Aristocratic Occupations . . .
The second image, a color drawing by the popular English caricaturist James Gillray in 1805 during the Empire, takes a different view of the Directory, suggesting that it is a time of moral decadence and self–aggrandizement. It depicts Paul Barras, while in power as a member of the five–man executive Directory in 1797, being entertained by the naked dancing of two wives of prominent men, the former Jacobin deputy Jean–Louis Tallien and Bonaparte. Madame Tallien appears beautiful, tall, and elegant, while Josephine de Beauharnais, Bonaparte’s future wife, appears small, thin, and with bad teeth. According to the text, Barras chose Madame Tallien (taking the man’s wife just as he usurped the man’s political power), while Bonaparte (seen watching from behind a curtain) eagerly accepted the less attractive woman so he could advance his political career.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Still Image Item Type Metadata
31.6 x 45.7cm
Ci-devant Occupations; or, Madame Talian and the Empress Josephine Dancing Naked before Barrass in the Winter of 1797. - A Fact!