Let’s celebrate some French art! Monday was Bastille Day, France’s version of IndependenceDay, which they generally refer to as “le quatorze juillet”, ie, July 14th. It all began with a discontented French populace who stormed and took over a prison that served as a symbol of the monarchy, and resulted in the creation of a republic. After successfully capturing the Bastille, it was promptly demolished:
The contractor responsible for the demolition had the bright idea to have souvenirs made, and this is a model of the Bastille made out of a stone from the fortress:
It was not until a century later that July 14th was officially recognized as a national holiday. This poster commemorates that first “legitimate” event:
Since that time (and even a bit before then), the holiday has been associated with dances, parades, fireworks, and flag waving. Along the way, quite a few artists have taken the time to document the occasion. Ladies and gentlemen, I present a parade of Bastille Day art!
This one depicts a triumphant July 14th parade after the end of WWI. I especially love the biplanes in the background.
This one shows the same post-WWI theme, a parade, but showing the wounded instead of the glorious:
And lest we forget that France is a global power, here we have Bastille Day on an exotic ile. There are fewer flags, but I think Gaugin would still approve:
From realism to impressionism to fauvism to naive art to cubism to graphic art to abstraction, a huge number of styles are presented above. Which one is your favorite? I really love the one of people in the street singing La Marseillaise by Jean Béraud and the hyper-realist painting with the hot air balloon by Gérard Gantois.
If you would like to better understand a French perspective on Bastille Day, check out this blog post.
Test your knowledge with this quiz by selecting the name of the artist who painted each Bastille themed painting.