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Sunday, 14 November 2010

Artwork of the day

Honore Daumier, Gargantua, 1831, lithograph

Honore Daumier expressed a severe criticism to the social situation of his time and the political rulers themselves. In the 1831 lithograph Gargantua, his target is the Bourbon king, Louis-Philippe. The picture is a direct attack to the ruler, who is represented more as an industrial machine, rather than an actual human being. Louis-Philippe is depicted as giant, seated in a throne. The city behind him is no other than the French capital, Paris. The king is in the process of devouring all the food that his servants bring to his open mouth, while at the same time, from “his posterior, honours and concessions fall to politicians gathered outside the Palais Bourbon in the form of toilet paper”. In front of the king, the artist chose to depict the poor of Paris. They look more like living skeletons, wearing rags looking in despair. Daumier spent six months in prison for this lithograph, but he continued the harsh criticism on the 19th century French society.

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