Title: Review of the National Guard, Fieschi attack.
Author : LAMI Eugene (1800 - 1890)
Creation date : 1846
Date shown: July 13, 1835
Dimensions: Height 57 - Width 277
Technique and other indications: Oil on canvas commissioned by Louis-Philippe for the historical museum of Versailles in 1842
Storage place: National Museum of the Palace of Versailles (Versailles) website
Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais
Picture reference: 19-501519 / MV 5169
Review of the National Guard, Fieschi attack.
© Photo RMN-Grand Palais
Publication date: March 2016
A murderous attack
Louis-Philippe, throughout his reign, was the object of multiple assassination attempts. More than the regicide attempt to overthrow the July Monarchy, characteristic of those years when Republican unrest continued, it was the spectacular aspect of the attack and above all the high number of victims that struck the imagination.
An unusual painting
The circumstances of the attack are particularly well highlighted by the very unusual, long format of this canvas that Lami painted some ten years after the event. In the background, the houses on the boulevard, which has not yet been transformed and standardized by Haussmannian town planning. In front, the crowd and the troops, in the foreground the procession itself. The bomb has just exploded, and the assistants have not yet had time to realize what it was about, while, at the site of the explosion, people are lying on the ground, killed or injured, and others run away to find shelter: a woman on the left is protecting her children. The king, calm, holds his horse to a halt while the guard turns to rescue him. The artist was able to capture both the atmosphere of the military parade and the sudden, unexplained character of the attack, as well as the first moments of the popular reaction.
Very introduced into the world, decorator, designer of sets and costumes for the stage, watercolorist with recognized talent, successful lithographer, Lami was also a painter, brilliant and picturesque, but not neglecting the realistic rendering of detail. He worked for the Versailles of Louis-Philippe, thus giving several paintings of battles, but his most seductive works are scenes of modern life, where he bears witness to the world of his time. His interest in military matters was well known, and under the Restoration he collaborated with Horace Vernet on the lithographed suite of the Collection of uniforms of the French armies from 1791 to 1814. Traces of it can be found here in a way.
The political side of the painting is actually only present in the illustration of the direct consequences of Fieschi's attempt, with the abrupt end to the celebrations, the dead and wounded, the general emotion. The person of Louis-Philippe is highlighted only by the isolation and the coolness of the sovereign in the midst of the tumult. The regicide is presented more as a breach of civil peace than as an attack against an individual in a sacred character. There is a clear opposition between the crowd, the people and an isolated man (Fieschi), whose efforts are sanctioned by failure.
- Louis Philippe
- July Monarchy
Claire CONSTANS National Museum of the Palace of Versailles: Paintings 2 vol., Paris, RMN, 1995.Francis DÉMIER 19th century France Paris, Seuil, coll. "Points Histoire", 2000.Lucas DUBRETON Louis-Philippe and the infernal machine 1830-1835 Paris, Amiot-Dumont, 1951 François FURET, The Revolution, 1780-1880 Paris, Hachette, 1988, reed. “Pluriel” collection, 1992. André JARDIN and André-Jean TUDESQ France of the Notables (1815-1848) 2 vol., Paris, Seuil, coll. "Points Histoire", 1973.Philippe VIGIER The July Monarchy Paris, PUF, coll. "What do I know? », 1982.
To cite this article
Barthélemy JOBERT and Pascal TORRÈS, "Review of the National Guard, Fieschi attack"