Marie Antoinette by David, 16th October 1793

16 October 2011

Marie Antoinette on the Way to the Guillotine, JL David, 1793. Photo: Musée Louvre.

The majority of the crowd was curiously silent until she reached the Rue St Honoré, where the stalwarts of the Revolution, the worst of the poissardes were waiting to gloat over her fall. A low class actor called Grammont was strutting around on horseback, brandishing a sword and shouting, ‘Here goes the wicked Antoinette! She is finally finished, my friends!’ And here stood David, a great artist but a despicable human being, a regicide who now licked the boots of Robespierre and was later to pay homage to Bonaparte. In those few short moments he sketched that memorable and cruel likeness of a shattered woman, all beauty gone, with nothing left but pride and a grim determination to die in a manner worthy of her ancestors. She stares ahead, with the Hapsburg lips, which were once a pretty pout, set in a look of utter contempt.‘ — from Marie Antoinette, Joan Haslip, 1987.

Le peintre David dessinant Marie-Antoinette conduite au supplice, 1793, Büssche, 1900. Photo: Musée de la Révolution, Château de Vizille.

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