The Zenith of French Glory


James Gillray (1756 -1815), The Zenith of French Glory; -the Pinnacle of Liberty, 12 February 1793. Etching. Graphic Arts GA201-01475

The British caricaturist James Gillray drew this printed to commemorate the beheading of Louis XVI (note the crown on the guillotine’s blade). Beneath the title is written “Religion, Justice, Loyalty, & all the Bugbears of Unenlightened Minds, Farewell!” A sansculotte (sans-culottes, without the knee-length pants that were fashionable) is perched on a lamp post fiddling, one foot on the hanged body of the bishop. His cap says “Ca ira” (It will be fine), the song of the working class radicals of the French revolution.