Saturday, 1 November 2014

Liberty and Red Riding Hood

Above: Eugène Delacroix, La Liberté guidant le peuple 1830

I woke up last night with this painting in my head and so have launched into searching for little Red Riding Hood in a most unexpected place, paintings from the French Revolution, 1787-99.

Liberty Leading the People (La Liberté guidant le peuple) is a painting by Eugène Delacroix commemorating the July Revolution of 1830. For me this strong strident bare breasted woman is a 'Red Riding Hood' standing up to oppression and fear with no concern of her sex, no sense of vulnerability.
Marianne the pivotal figure in this composition wears the red Phrygian cap (liberty cap), a touch of red in her corsage and the blase of red from the revolution's tricolour flag, she is an icon of freedom and democracy against dictatorship.

This is the Red Riding Hood of modern graffiti.
Little Red Riding Hood is the embodiment of Marianne even by being graffiti she is part of the revolution, anti-establishment.
Red Riding Hood is a time traveler through oral literature, written literature, our visual vocabulary and culture, a ubiquitous figure of good against evil, innocence against corruption.

Above: Nicolas de Courteille's 1793 Truth Leading the Republic and Abundance

In Nicolas de Courteille's Truth leading the republic the Phrygian cap is held aloft on a pole, like a flag, a symbol of victory, a victory pole.

 Above: Jeanne-Louise Vallain, La Liberté. 1794-95

Above: Joseph Taillasson 1794-95, La Liberté ramenant au Peuple la Justice et la Vertu

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