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Louis XVI does his Best

Louis XVI does his Best


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Louis XVI does his Best

Allegorical depiction of Louis XVI doing his best for his country, conferring with Justice, Economy, Truth and Religion : alas, they cannot save him from the guillotine. Date: 4 May 1789

Mary Evans Picture Library makes available wonderful images created for people to enjoy over the centuries

Media ID 14112208

© Mary Evans Picture Library

1789 Alas Allegorical Best Conferring Depiction Economy Guillotine Justice Save Truth


EDITORS COMMENTS
This evocative print, titled 'Louis XVI does his Best,' depicts King Louis XVI of France in an allegorical scene, earnestly conferring with the personified figures of Justice, Economy, Truth, and Religion. The image, created in May 1789, just months before the French Revolution, captures the monarch's desperate attempt to address the mounting social and economic crises plaguing his country. The somber expression on Louis XVI's face conveys his deep concern for the welfare of his people and his commitment to finding solutions. The figures of Justice, Economy, Truth, and Religion, each represented by symbolic attributes, offer their counsel and guidance. Justice holds a balance scale, symbolizing fairness and impartiality. Economy, represented by a cornucopia, offers abundance and prosperity. Truth, with a mirror reflecting an unflinching gaze, represents honesty and transparency. Religion, symbolized by a cross, embodies morality and spiritual guidance. Despite the king's best efforts, the events that would unfold in France were beyond his control. The French Revolution, which began in July 1789, would ultimately lead to the downfall of the monarchy and the execution of Louis XVI by guillotine in January 1793. This print serves as a poignant reminder of the complexities and challenges faced by a monarch during a time of political and social upheaval. The intricate details and rich symbolism of this print make it a valuable historical artifact, shedding light on the tumultuous events that shaped the course of French history. The haunting caption, 'Alas, they cannot save him from the guillotine,' underscores the tragic fate that awaited Louis XVI, despite his noble intentions and earnest efforts to save his country.

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