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The Legislative Body: Print Portraits of the National Assembly, 1789–1791

From: Eighteenth-Century Studies
Volume 41, Number 3, Spring 2008
pp. 337-358 | 10.1353/ecs.2008.0018

Abstract

Abstract:

This essay explores the problem of political representation during the early years of the French Revolution through the lens of a series of portraits of the deputies to the National Assembly, the Collection Générale des Portraits de MM. les Députés à l'Assemblée Nationale, published by Nicolas-François Levachez. As the first visual depiction of the deputies, the prints manipulate the language of portraiture to strike a balance between representing a series of individual men and a collective body politic, and to invite political participation and judgment from viewers.