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A Centennial of Independence
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Henri Rousseau
French, 1892
Oil on canvas
44 x 61 7/8 in.
88.PA.58

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Henri Rousseau commemorated the one-hundredth anniversary of the proclamation of the first French Republic in 1792. Peasants dance the farandole, a popular southern French dance, around three liberty trees and two female figures representing the First and Third Republics. Rousseau copied the dancers from a French magazine illustration but added waving banners, the liberty poles, and the allegorical figures. A wagon in the background is full of costumed musicians, reminiscent of parades the artist had seen. He used brilliant colors and solid forms to express the happiness of the scene symbolizing good government. To the right, the erect posture of the dignified republican leaders signals the solidity of the French Republic.

Detail Views

Grass at feet of group
Grass at feet of group


Technical Views

Infrared image of signature
Infrared image of signature

Before treatment photograph
Before treatment photograph

Cross-section of paint layers
Cross-section of paint layers

X-ray of removed family group
X-ray of removed family group