The fall of royalty

The fall of royalty

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Title: The Capture of the Tuileries Palace, Cour du Carrousel, August 10, 1792.

Author : BERTAUX Jacques (1745 - 1818)

Creation date : 1793

Date shown: August 10, 1792

Dimensions: Height 124 - Width 192

Technique and other indications: Presented at the Salon of French Artists, Paris, 1793 Oil on canvas

Storage location: National Museum of the Palace of Versailles (Versailles) website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - G. Blot / J. Schormans website

Picture reference: 83EE86 / MV 5182

The Capture of the Tuileries Palace, Cour du Carrousel, August 10, 1792.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - G. Schormans

Publication date: August 2014

Historical context

In the summer of 1792, internal conflicts worsened with military defeats: the Assembly created a camp for the Federates near Paris. On August 10, at 8 a.m., then begins one of the most emblematic days of the French Revolution: the capture of the Tuileries Palace, then the imprisonment of Louis XVI and his family in the Temple which will put an end to the monarchy constitutional.

Image Analysis

This composition presented at the Salon of 1793 represents the courtyard of the Carrousel where the fight between the Sections and the Swiss Guards takes place. In the foreground a Swiss Guard is bayoneted by two sans-culottes, while cannon is fired at the palace gate from which other guards fire, the heroic ultimate defenders of the monarchy. The ground is strewn with bloody corpses. One feels the crushing of the guards sacrificing themselves without negotiating surrender, and heroism seems well on the side of the vanquished, shown in the foreground in an obvious humanity. On the door of the Carrousel courtyard floats the revolutionary banner, hanging from a pike wearing the Phrygian cap.


At the year II of the Republic painting competition, five artists presented sketches representing the assault on the Tuileries. The first prize went to François Gérard. Lagrenée le Jeune, Régnault and Bertaux dealt with the same subject. At the Year VII Salon, Hennequin won a prize for an allegorical composition representing the same historical fact. We recognize under Bertaux's brush the art of the painter of battles who represents the facts as if they had been seized on the spot, and takes pleasure in the realistic and macabre evocation of the massacre of the Swiss Guards (he was reproached for this , thereby raising the question of the authenticity of his republican commitment). However, it is important to emphasize that for the artist - and this can be interpreted as a testimony a posteriori on the conception of revolutionary propaganda painting - the historical truth must show not only the cockade or the tricolor standard, but also the national heroism and the cruelty of particularly fierce and bloody battles.

  • August 10, 1792
  • fall of royalty
  • federated
  • National Guard
  • revolutionary days
  • constitutional monarchy
  • sans culottes
  • Tuileries Palace


Denis RICHET “Revolutionary Days”, in François FURET and Mona OZOUF, Critical Dictionary of the French Revolution réed., Paris, Flammarion, coll. "Champs Flammarion", 1992.Marcel REINHARD The fall of royalty (August 10, 1792) Paris, Gallimard, coll. "Thirty days that made France", 1969.Michel VOVELLE The fall of the monarchy 1787-1792 Paris, Seuil, coll. “Points Histoire”, 1972. The French Revolution and Europe 1789-1799 , catalog of the exhibition at the Grand-PalaisParis, RMN, 1989.

To cite this article

Robert FOHR and Pascal TORRÈS, "The fall of royalty"

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