Imaging the French Revolution Discussion
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G. The identity of the author constitutes another important contextualizing factor for any image. Here contributors consider this aspect.

The very presence of some women who participate in the macabre celebration on the street while several others witness the gruesome scene from the right-hand balcony further underscore their engagement in, or identification with the event. Such representations of cruel and vindictive women were at odds with most popular prints that located “virtuous” women attending quietly to their proper functions in their domicile or trade, but rarely in the streets. The very presence and participation of women in the public narrative might have provoked audience incredulity or outrage. Similarly, the anonymous crowd who carry bayonets in the background form a shadowy, undifferentiated “headless” mass that embody the violence and mayhem so feared by an apprehensive bourgeoisie. It is likely that this rendition of Foulon's torture reveals the foreboding of educated or propertied groups about the unbridled energies of the revolutionary crowd.

If we do not know the engraver, the date and situation of publication would be so helpful here. Perhaps, like the Prieur “Hanging of Foulon” [Image 25], the print was relatively contemporaneous with the event, but it is also possible that the anonymous artist selected and reinterpreted the famous narrative during the post 1793 period to vilify the egregious nature of Jacobin leadership.

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