Rue Transnonain, Honoré Daumier, 1834, lithograph
It should be obvious by now that I'm a big fan of 19th century French Realism. Daumier is particularly dear to me as his art is meant to be both humorous and real, a critique to the social, political and economic situation of 19th century France and serving eventually as a visual history of Daumier's times. In this case it is a tragic event that Daumier depicts and immortalizes in his art. Rue Transonain was created in 1834 and shows the aftermath of a real event in this Parisian route. In April 1834 during a social unrest, governmental troops entered a building and killed all its inhabitants. The lithograph depicts one single room and lives to the imagination of the viewer the scenery in the rest of the building. Death is present everywhere in the scene. The man in the foreground that wears his night robe was probably dragged out of his bed and killed. A baby lies beneath him, an old man right next to him. With this work Daumier criticizes the violence of the army, but also the ill decisions of a monarchy that had little concern for the poor citizens of the country.