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The Barricade (La barricade)

Perhaps associating the lithographic medium with provocative journalistic-style prints about contemporary events for a mass audience, Manet turned his attention in 1871 to the political crisis during the French Third Republic. This image records the events of Bloody Week (May 21–28), when a group of radical Communards faced down government troops in the streets of Paris behind homemade barricades. Thousands were shot down and at least 17, 000 others were executed for their role in the rebellion. While it is unclear whether Manet actually witnessed these events or based his design on photographs, he clearly chose the sketchy lines of the lithographic crayon to give the feeling of an on-the-spot record.

Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art’s collection also includes Manet’s print Civil War (Eskenazi Museum of Art 85.7), which was related to the same conflict.

Edouard Manet
French, 1832–1883
The Barricade (La barricade)
1871/84
Lithograph on chine collé
Image: 18 3/8 x 13 1/8 in. (46.7 x 33.3 cm); sheet: 25 5/8 x 19 1/8 in. (65.1 x 60.6 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 73.43