The world turned upside down

The world turned upside down

  • The world turned upside down.

    ANONYMOUS

  • The madness of men or the world in reverse.

    ANONYMOUS

  • The world turned upside down.

    ANONYMOUS

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Title: The world turned upside down.

Author : ANONYMOUS (-)

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 29.9 - Width 39.8

Technique and other indications: François Hurez (editor), Cambraibois stencil colored thread on laid paper

Storage location: MuCEM website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - J.-G. Berizzisite web

Picture reference: 02CE10147 / 65.75.138 C

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - J.-G. Berizzi

To close

Title: The madness of men or the world in reverse.

Author : ANONYMOUS (-)

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 51.5 - Width 81.2

Technique and other indications: Mondhar (editor), Paristaille-soft colored on laid paper

Storage location: MuCEM website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - J.-G. Berizzisite web

Picture reference: 02CE11890 / 63.63.1 E

The madness of men or the world in reverse.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - J.-G. Berizzi

To close

Title: The world turned upside down.

Author : ANONYMOUS (-)

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 41.5 - Width 32.2

Technique and other indications: Pellerin (publisher), Epinalbois colored stencil on paper

Storage location: MuCEM website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - J.-G. Berizzisite web

Picture reference: 02CE11891 / 53.86.5104 C

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - J.-G. Berizzi

Publication date: September 2004

Video

The world turned upside down

Video

Historical context

The technique consisting in inverting the relations between two terms of the real world (human beings, animals, celestial bodies ...), in order to produce an impossible representation, is found in many civilizations. Until then exceptionally stable, this theme undergoes a profound transformation; it will disappear completely around 1900.

Image Analysis

At the start of the Restoration, Hurez's image took up nine classic vignettes from 18th century prints. Six of them stage positional oppositions between man and animal; the very classic "Ox driving the plow" (drawn by two men) is a counterpoint to "Donkeys in a carriage driven by men" and "Ox making the butcher" (other prints present for the same theme "The cook with the spit, the geese turn it ”). "The man who fishes the roosters" and "The flying fish" are two vignettes that respond to each other, reversing the natural opposition between birds and fish; as for the "Horse bridled by the tail, running backwards", this is a rare occurrence, referring to cosmic inversions by the suggestion of a retrograde movement. All of these scenes present absurd situations, the impossibility of which is obvious: in the real world, it is not the apes who make people jump through a hoop. They are of an intermediate type between the cosmic inversions of the very first images (such as the first and the last scene of Mondhar's intaglio: "The terrestrial globe overturned" on the one hand, "The cities in the clouds - the sun and moon on the earth ”on the other hand) and the sociological inversions which, already present in the 18th century (“ The woman has the musket, the distaff, the husband, And cradles the child on her knees as a surrogate ”) , will be more and more frequent in the second half of the 19th century. The world upside down can be read in hollow from the common certainties about the upside-down world, and if, around 1850, Pellerin stages the relations between the sexes ("The woman keeps the guard, household provisions "," The men cook, and the women drink to their health ") and even social relations (" The mistress brings lunch to the servant "," The schoolboy puts on the ignorant's cap to his master and gives him the whip ”), it is not a question of a subversive program of action but of representations supposed to be as impossible as“ The pig leading a man ”.

Interpretation

The themes illustrated by the inverted world vignettes show astonishing stability; among all the imaginable inversions, only a very small corpus is regularly exploited. The absence of sociologically-themed vignettes on Hurez's image is remarkable given their presence in many earlier images. The political regime established by Louis XVIII was not inclined to tolerate overly direct expressions of social satire, so it is not surprising that the Reversed Worlds published during this period favored socially neutral themes - at least in appearance, because the long frequentation of these images makes it possible to suppose that these representations of an absurd naturalist could suggest less innocent interpretations. The end of the July monarchy, on the other hand, will see a proliferation of much more daring expressions; the mistress who brings lunch to the servant being then just exonerated from the suspicion of subversion by her neighborhood with "The fish that fish men with the line".

  • censorship
  • popular imagery
  • satire

Bibliography

Jacques COCHIN "Worlds upside down, worlds right side up" in Popular arts and traditions, n ° 17, Paris, Maisonneuve and Larose, 1969 Jean LAFOND and Augustin REDONDO (eds.)The reversed image of the world and its literary and para-literary representations from the end of the 16th century to the middle of the 18th centuryInternational colloquium of Tours, November 17-19, 1977, Paris, J. Vrin, 1977 Maurice LEVER "The world upside down" in Old Paper, Paris, Hachette-Massin 1980Frédéric MAGUETThe world upside downexhibition catalog-dossier, Paris, MNATP, 1990 Frédérick TRISTANThe world upside downParis, Hachette-Massin, 1980 Exhibition catalog The inverted world, moral and nonsense in satirical imagery Amsterdam-Paris-London-New York, Goethe-Institut, trilingual German, French, English, 1985

To cite this article

Frédéric MAGUET, "The world overturned"


Video: The World Turned Upside Down The Fagans