Marie Antoinette Sacrifices the Heart of the Nobility on the Altar of the French Republic

Title: 
Marie Antoinette Sacrifices the Heart of the Nobility on the Altar of the French Republic

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Object Name: 
Tableau
Title: 
Marie Antoinette Sacrifices the Heart of the Nobility on the Altar of the French Republic
Maker(s): 
Place Made: 
Accession Number: 
2003.3.35
Dimensions: 
Overall H: 22.5 cm, W: 28.2 cm, D: 21.2 cm
Location: 
On Display
Date: 
about 1790
Web Description: 
In this allegorical scene, the French queen Marie Antoinette walks among classical ruins that represent the aristocratic regime toppled by the French Revolution. She is about to place a winged heart, symbolizing the nobility, on an altar, next to two flaming hearts that represent the clergy and the commonalty. These were the three political orders of the state. This diorama was made to mark the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, which triggered the French Revolution. On July 14, 1789, the Bastille, a Paris fortress that was used as a prison, was captured by revolutionaries. Exactly one year later, the Gazette Universelle reported that a crowd of 300,000 people had gathered at the Champs de Mars in Paris to celebrate the "Fête of the Federation." A huge tableau and an elevated altar were erected in the center of the field. Here, the Marquis de Lafayette, a hero of the American Revolution, took the oath in the name of the Federates, uniting the French and their king. Then King Louis XVI, Queen Marie Antoinette, and the young dauphin Louis swore to uphold the constitution decreed by the Assembly. The diorama was undoubtedly commissioned by a Royalist client. Pierre Haly, who created the scene, was a member of a famous dynasty of lampworkers from Nevers in central France. He must have made the diorama shortly after the gathering at the Champs de Mars and before the royal family’s failed attempt to escape to Austria in 1791. Following their capture, they were imprisoned and executed.
Department: 
Provenance: 
King, Sylvie Lhermite, Source
2003-02-28
Category: 
Inscription: 
"TENDRE AMITIE, DOUS ASYLE DES COEURS, C'EST A TOY QUE JE SACRIFIE. SI L'AMOUR NOUR DONNE LA VIE. TOI SEULE EN DONNE SES DOUCEURS"
Inscription
gilded On plaque at front of diorama
"P+ HALEY, EMAILLUR"
Inscription
gilded Back right side of base
Primary Description: 
Opaque white glass; lampworked, enameled, assembled, with gilded wooden base. The scene depicts Marie-Antoinette sacrificing her heart on the alter of the state within the ruins of a Greek temple. The figure of Marie-Antoinette carries her winged golden heart in her right hand, with her left hand out to her side, and walks towards a small decorated alter where two golden hearts are sitting. She is surrounded by a number of broken columns and architectural elements. In the back are two complete columns supporting a lintel with illegible text. Near the alter on the right are three small white birds, two books lying to the left, and a small seated cherub figure holding a shield with a design of the Royal monogram. Various small plants are depicted throughout the scene and the ground is made up of numerous broken and ground glass pieces and bits representing gravel and stone. The entire scene sits on a footed gilded base with a plaque on the front center. See Inscriptions for exact wording.
The Fragile Art: Extraordinary Objects from The Corning Museum of Glass
Venue(s)
Park Avenue Armory 2009-01-23 through 2009-02-01
The 55th Annual Winter Antiques Show
Shaping History: Looking at the Past and Present in Glass (2013) illustrated, p. 182, #7; BIB# 135186
Layering Creative Virtues onto an Object, Part 2: Survey (2009-05) illustrated, p. 12;
18th-Century Lampworking Challenges Our Future (2008-10) illustrated, pp. 30-31; BIB# AI76534
What I Tell My Students Part I (2008) illustrated, p. 21;
No Green Berries or Leaves (2007) illustrated, Plate XXIV, Glass I; BIB# 100858
Recent Important Acquisitions, 46 (2004) illustrated, p. 216, #8; BIB# AI69240
The Corning Museum of Glass Annual Report 2003 (2004) illustrated, p. 9; BIB# AI93746
Bailly-Pommery & Associes (2002) illustrated, p. 70-71, #222;