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Title: Almanac of Posts and Telegraphs. Sculpture at the Salon.
Author : ANONYMOUS (-)
Creation date : 1897
Date shown: 1897
Dimensions: Height 20.7 - Width 26.3
Technique and other indications: Typogravure on paper (glued in full) and cardboard Engraved by Huyot (signature lower right) Published in Rennes at Oberthur
Storage location: MuCEM website
Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palaissite web
Picture reference: 01.2.20 / Inv: 993.2.354 B
Almanac of Posts and Telegraphs. Sculpture at the Salon.
© Photo RMN-Grand Palais
Publication date: March 2016
An object of everyday life, the calendar marks time. Placed in full view, he often diffuses the ideologies of his time.
Since the 16th century, almanacs have been illustrated with numerous decorative, political and event themes… They all refer to an era, a taste, and history.
The year 1898 is illustrated by a Fine Arts Salon, very popular in the 19th century. Visitors linger in front of a sculpture, which represents Vercingetorix. Behind him is a statue of Joan of Arc.
The Vercingetorix Aimé Millet is one of the founding representations of the stereotype “our ancestors the Gauls” in history textbooks.
From the second half of the 19th century, the notoriety of the Gallic leader will spread and impress the popular imagination for a century. It is after the war of 1870 that he will be presented as the first hero of the French resistance and placed among the hero-martyrs of the nation in the same way as Joan of Arc. The Republic will disseminate their images and build their legends on their moral virtues.
As for the statue, originally commissioned by Napoleon III to commemorate the first imperial union, it has been given a different role throughout the exhibitions and the dissemination of its representations. The winner of Alésia thus became the distant brother of the great figures who marked out history, from the Third to the Fifth Republic.
The character arises at a time of rediscovery of the national past, which replaces Greco-Roman Antiquity chosen as ideological support by the French Revolution and Napoleon I. It was in 1828 that Vercingetorix appeared for the first time in theHistory of the Gauls Amédée Thierry. Ten years later, Henri Martin made him a national hero in his History of France. He then wrote a historical drama that he staged the same year that Millet's sculpture was presented at the Salon, testimony to the general interest in this new “popular hero”. The question of the separation of Church and State will also strengthen the myth by making Vercingetorix the founding father of a secular France, while the dynastic tradition made the history of the country begin with the baptism of Clovis.
From 1875, History of France popular illustrated by Martin broadens its distribution to become massive thanks to “little Lavisse”. The historical popularization based on a repertoire of exemplary roles such as that of Vercingétorix will have a powerful impact on the collective unconscious and will educate the political and patriotic of the following generations.
Sculpture at the Salon, an innocuous illustration of an everyday object, lets glimpse the force of the impact of the image on the imagination. Trace of an event marked in time (the Salon), it conveys a republican and secular ideology acquired over time and whose referent (the figure of Vercingetorix) has fossilized as an unconscious and collective reference, proceeding from a recurring automatism.
As for the support - the calendar -, it is ephemeral by its function (one year) and yet remains an object of memory. It is kept, sometimes cherished for the moments it recalls, and its neutrality is only apparent. Frédéric Maguet rightly underlines it: “[He has] a hold on the duration, on the succession of events, these salient moments in human history. ”
- living room
- Third Republic
Maurice AGULHON “Statuomania and history”, French ethnology 1978, p.145-172.Maurice AGULHON “The Gallic Myth”, French ethnology 1998, p.296-302.Christian AMALVI “Representations of the national past in popular Catholic and secular literature (1870-1914)”, Uses of the image in the 19th century collective work, Paris, Créaphis, 1992, p.68-75 Colette BARBE The 19th Century Almanacs Nancy, Berger-Levrault, 1985.Alain DUVAL and Christiane LYON-CAEN Vercingetorix and Alésia National Museum of National Antiquities, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, March 29-July 18, 1994, Paris, RMN, 1994 Jean GABUS The witness object, the references of a civilization by the object Neuchâtel, Ides et Calendes, 1975.Christian GOUDINEAU The Vercingétorix dossier Paris, Actes Sud-Errance, 2001.Frédéric MAGUE The Times of Life National Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions, Paris, February 24-September 25, 1995, Paris, RMN, 1995. Anne PINGEOT “Les Gaulois sculptés 1850-1914”, Proceedings of the Clermont-Ferrand international conference , 23-25 June 1980 Clermont-Ferrand, University of Clermont-Ferrand, 1982, p.255-282.André SIMON Vercingetorix: republican hero Paris, Ramsay, 1996.
To cite this article
Nathalie JANES, “Almanac of Posts and Telegraphs. Sculpture at the Salon "