Liberty. Equality. Brotherhood. French revolutionary faience of the late 18th century

State Historical Museum Exhibitions

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Event date

12.02.2020 - 30.09.2020

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State Historical Museum


State Historical Museum

From February 12, 2020 to September 30, 2020

Communiqué de presse en français


For the first time in Russian museum practice, the exhibition presents revolutionary faience as a special phenomenon in the applied arts of France. The exhibition shows about fifty ceramic products from the collections of the State Historical Museum, the State Central Museum of Modern History of Russia and the collection of T.A. Udras — the largest russian collection of French revolutionary faience.

In the era of the French Revolution (1789–1799), a unique phenomenon arose in Nevers, a large ceramic center, which later became known as the "revolutionary" or "patriotic" faience. Numerous plates, dishes and jugs with revolutionary emblems and slogans have become a kind of mouthpiece of current political ideas. On items from the time of the constitutional monarchy, a crown and a flaming heart were often depicted, personifying the love of the king and the nation.

Among the most popular images placed on the products were images of a balloon and a Gallic rooster on a cannon (a symbol of vigilance and courage), various slogans ("Long live the nation!", "Freedom or death", "Peace", "Nation, law, king"). The plots, understandable to every citizen of the new republic, reflected the realities and turbulent social processes, and the symbols and appeals showed a variety of "iconography" of the political system of France during the Great Revolution.

Faience objects are surrounded by a fine series associated with the main events and figures of the French Revolution. These are engravings of the end of the 18th century, depicting the main events of the era, and folk pictures showing a political "theater" through the eyes of revolutionary citizens. For the first time, a number of artifacts from the collection of the Historical Museum are shown: autographs of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette, J. Necker, O.G. Mirabeau and M. Robespierre; pictorial portrait of the marquis M.ZH.A.N. de Condorcet in the uniform of the National Guard brush J.L. Laneville (1790th);

French sapper cleaver of the period of the First Republic (a gift to the Secretary General of the Central Committee of the CPSU L.I. Brezhnev from the Chairman of the National Assembly of France, J. Chaban‐Delmas). The exhibition presents a pictorial portrait of the "Russian Jacobin" Count P.A. Stroganov works of the famous French artist J.L. Voila (1787) from the collection of T.A. Udras, are also presented for the first time.