Author: Freund, Amy
Date published: September 1, 2011
Revolutionary Paris was awash in portraits. Portraits dominated the Salon, filled the print shops, decorated political clubs, and were paraded through the streets in festivals and funerals. Commissioners eager to redefine themselves in Revolutionary terms flocked to portraitists' studios at a time when patronage for other genres of art production was drying up. The statistics from the official Salon exhibitions testify to the growing visibility of portraiture. Between 1789 and 1791, the number of portraits exhibited at the Salon more dian doubled, and the totals continued to rise steadily over the Revolutionary period.1 The complaint of a critic at the 1796 Salon coiifirms the increasing public presence of the genre and snidely lays the blame for the epidemic of portraits at the feet of the Revolution: "Portraits, portraits, and more portraits. Since we have all become brothers, the Salon has been made into a gallery of family portraits."2 Indeed, liberty, equality, and fraternity seem to have served as tonics for the portrait market. The dismantlement of die nobility and the emigration of many members of the pre-Revolutionary elite may have affected demand for portraiture at the highest end of the price scale (and this is far from certain), but the popularity of portraiture touched all socioeconomic levels. The cheapest available portraits, sueh as the silhouettes and mechanically produced physionotraces made by artists working on the streets of Paris, could be purchased for as litde as three livres, at a moment when a ticket for die standing places at die Opéra cost a litde more tiian two livres.3 Portraits were affordable and much in demand by die newly constituted French people.
Portraiture was central to post-1789 visual culture because it proposed solutions to die fundamental challenge of the Revolution: how to make subjects into citizens. Revolutionary legislators confronted the problem of regenerating the nation from the top down, legislating sweeping changes in die nation's political, social, and cultural strucmres. The citizens of the new France used portraits to effect regeneration from die bottom up. Botii portraiture and Revolutionary political morality were predicated on the assumption diat die face and body communicated essential truths about the sitter to the viewer. Transparency between citizens was the watchword of the new regime. Now that political sovereignty rested with the people, it was particularly important that the people be virtuous, and that their shared virtue be clearly manifested to each other and in the governance of the state.4 Maximilien Robespierre expressed this desire for constant and unimpeded communion between die individual and die polity in 1794 when, speaking on die floor of the legislature, he looked forward to a new political order, "where all souls are magnified by the continual communication of Republican sentiments and by the need to merit the esteem of a great people. . . ."5 Robespierre posits a self diat is always demonstrating its republicanism and is constantly mindful of the critical gaze of its fellow citizens. The continual communication of Republican sentiments, a goal difficult to realize in die flesh, could be attained by a portrait, the permanent image of die soul or, at least, of die body.
Revolutionary portraits reveal die ways in which French citizens reformulated die basic elements of selfhood at a moment when traditional political and social hierarchies were being dismanded. In the wake of the collapse of die ancien régime and of die Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture and its aesdietic strictures, sitters and artists adapted the old conventions of portraiture to new social realities. Some hierarchies, nonedieless, remained largely unchallenged by die successive Revolutionary governments. Citizenship was a male prerogative. Women had neitiier voting rights nor legal access to military or civil posts. But portraiture was not a male prerogative. Its centrality to Revolutionary visual culture made it a particularly effective means by which women could claim political agency. The visual vocabulary for making diat claim, however, was limited. Revolutionary allegories employed female faces and bodies to visualize liberty, reason, nature, or the Republic, but actual women were discouraged from representing themselves as political actors. The efforts of those women who seized on the Revolution's promise of universal liberty and equality, such as die participants in die women's political clubs diat were founded after 1 789 or activists like Olympe de Gouges, were quickly suppressed. The only officially acceptable model for Revolutionary femininity, promoted in speeches, in print, and in visual representation, was diat of the Republican wife and mother, inspiring patriotism in her husband and raising Citizens for die nation.
A few women succeeded in carving out political identities for themselves over die course of die Revolution. Not many of them commissioned portraits. The case of Theresia Cabarrus, better known as Mme Tallien, is exceptional. Socially prominent, politically active, and profoundly convinced Of her ability to shape her own destiny, Cabarrus posed for a portrait diat not only proposed a novel form of female subjectivity but also inserted its sitter into the national drama of die Terror (Fig. 1). Cabarrus's portrait, painted by Jean-Louis Laneuville and exhibited at die Salon of 1 796, depicts, as the tide in the Salon catalog informs us, "The Citizen [Citoyenne] Tallien in a prison cell at La Force, holding her hair which has just been cut."6 The portrait represents Cabarrus's imprisonment two years earlier by the radical Jacobin government Cabarrus's prison correspondence with her then lover, Jean-Lambert Tallien, reportedly prompted Tallien to stage a coup d'état against Robespierre, thus bringing die Terror to an end and liberating Cabarrus. In this complex life-size composition, Cabarrus and her portraitist manipulated the conventions of female portraiture in order to produce a self that was botii reassuringly feminine and capable of intervening in the course of national history - a citoyenne in the full sense of the term. That her attempt to create a feminine version of political agency through portraiture was by and large a failure provides us with an insight into the unfulfilled promises of Revolutionary citizenship.
The case of Cabarrus's portrait also demonstrates the value of understanding portraiture as a collaborative process. A portrait is the product of the ambitions of both the sitter and the artist. Recent work on portraiture in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries has privileged the artist's claims over the sitter's, an approach that obscures the complex power dynamics of the portrait process as well the unique nature of portraiture's intervention in cultural and social debates.7 Rethinking portraiture as a collaboration yields a more vivid, and more historically responsible, understanding of what is at stake- personally, aesthetically, and culturally - for artists, sitters, and viewers. This approach to portraiture is particularly crucial for our understanding of the Revolutionary moment. As both historians and art historians have noted, the Revolution provoked a wave of what historian Jan Goldstein refers to as "self-talk": intense debate over the constituent elements of individual identity.8 Paintings like Laneuville's portrait of Cabarrus thus did political as well as biographical and aesthetic work.
The ambitious format of Cabarrus's portrait, moreover, points to the ways in which portraiture was becoming the most important artistic means of investigating pressing philosophical and moral questions. Portraiture at this time took on many of the responsibilities of history painting, making moral exemplarity and historical agency something that ordinary people could claim for themselves. The Revolution marks a turning point in the history of art, when seriousness of purpose and aesthetic ambition passed from the formulation of historical narratives to the depiction of contemporary individuals - both men and (uneasily, as the case of Cabarrus's portrait shows) women. This shift had major consequences for the course of art production in the modern era: the undermining of academic genre hierarchies, the foregrounding of the individual subject as the focus of ambitious painting, and, eventually, the rise of a modemist painting concerned with the contemporary and the contingent.
Cabarrus's portrait not only participated in these cultural changes but also made an argument for the centrality of women to the Revolutionary polity. In order to understand the stakes involved in this high-profile attempt to represent female political engagement, we need to consider both the specific circumstances of die commission and die relationship of women to the polity during the Revolution. On the one hand, we can understand the Cabarrus portrait in biographical terms: as an unorthodox expression of an unorthodox life. On the other hand, the portrait embodies the contradictions and tensions surrounding the notion of female citizenship in the new regime. Cabarrus had extraordinary access to political power, as well as to die means of self-representation, but the challenges she faced in fabricating a public face were common to all women.
These challenges are evident in the few female portraits of the Revolutionary era that suggest a relation between female identity and political commitment. Even women whose portraits hinted at their engagement with national affairs were almost always defined by their roles as wives and mothers. Jacques-Louis David's 1791-92 portrait of Louise Pastoret, a member of the liberal nobility and well-known supporter of the Revolution, makes no explicit reference to the sitter's political sympathies (Fig. 2).9 Instead, the portrait turns Republican motherhood into Pastoret's main attribute. Seated by her infant son's cradle, she labors decorously at a piece of needlework, her partially bared maternal breast testifying to her role as nurturer of citizens. A less sophisticated but more forthright approach to the representation of female civic identity is evident in a portrait of an unidentified woman by an equally unidentified artist (Fig. 3). The sitter's entire outfit is rendered in patriotic red, white, and blue, from the Revolutionary cockade and artificial flowers on her bonnet to her blue bodice and white sleeves decorated with red roses. Around her neck she wears a miniature portrait of a man with a mustache, a liberty bonnet, and an open-necked shirt, the markers of the sans-cuhttet the stereotypical radical workingclass citizen (or of the middle-class activist who adopted this politically expethent persona). The letter she holds reads, "My friends, I'm counting on seeing us in a Republic."10 Letters and miniatures appear frequently in contemporary genre paintings as tokens of love. This particular missive is most likely meant to be interpreted as the words of the man whose portrait die sitter wears; her Revolutionary political engagement is thus articulated by the male voice. In the David portrait, the presence of a man is implicit in the representation of motherhood. The anonymous portrait is more explicit about the relationship between women and citizenship; it pictures a female patriot by hanging a male patriot around her neck.
In each of these portraits, a woman's political engagement is mediated by her relationship with a man. None of the sitters inserts herself into a national narrative. Instead, all support men and raise children in indeterminate interior spaces. The difficulty of picturing active and independent female citizenship speaks to the constraints that the Revolution imposed on the political activity of women despite (or because of) its promises of universal liberty and equality. As the historian Carla Hesse has shown, the primary argument against women's political rights was that they were incapable of reason and independent judgment. Women were limited by their supposed lack of a self-created subject position - the same objection that was raised to the enfranchisement of domestic servants and actors.11 Portraiture had the potential to construct diat subject position, but die social and artistic conventions that governed women's self-representation proved far more rigid tiian tiiose that applied to men.
Cabarrus's portrait, working from within tiiose conventions, challenges Revolutionary assumptions about die female self. Laneuville certainly does not hesitate to advertise his sitter's personal attractions, and, indeed, Cabarrus had been an object of public admiration since she arrived in Paris as an adolescent in the 1780s. The portraitist pictured his sitter as a luminous beauty in a dark prison cell, surrounded by die emblems of her imprisonment: die chain in the foreground, die miserable rations behind her, and die long locks of her hair, which had been cut in anticipation of her trip to the guillotine. Cabarrus is depicted at three-quarters lengtii, with her face and body turned toward the viewer. The Calm of her perfecdy symmetrical face is animated by a slight but perceptible smile. Her eyes meet ours. Her body leans forward toward die viewer and the light falling from die upper left. That light draws our attention to her face and her chest, and makes her white dress, red sash, and pale skin glow against the dark grays, blues, and browns of her surroundings. Her arms are modesdy crossed in her lap, and the long locks of curly dark hair that signal her impending doom tumble down her body into the darker edges of the picture plane, almost an afterthought in a composition that stresses die elegance and beauty of its subject.
But those severed curls remind die viewer that this is not a society portrait or an image of a woman captured in the happy dishabille of domesticity, as in David's portrait of Louise Pastoret The locks of hair return our gaze to tiie head from which they were cut; Cabarrus's cropped hair is not powdered, curled, or dressed for a portrait sitting but rather is parted carelessly in die center and hangs loose on her shoulders. One anomaly leads us to another. The sash around Cabarrus's waist is improvised from a knotted handkerchief. The skirt of her dress is overlapped on the right by pieces of straw and on the left by a chain, objects that emphasize die conditions of her captivity. Cabarrus's body is framed by a pillar supporting an archway on the left and the edges of a craggy stone wall on die right, adding a note of Gothic atmosphere. Behind the sitter to die left, the light picks out the broken rim and handle of an earthenware jug and a coarse loaf of bread.
On die stone wall behind Cabarrus is a portrait within a portrait: a profile of a classically handsome man with a high forehead, straight nose, tender lips, strong chin, and loose dark hair falling over his neck. The portrait is bisected by a vertical line of die masonry, and die blocks of stone around it are cracked and chipped. All diese cut and crumbling objects remind die viewer of the dangers surrounding Cabarrus, whose unearthly calm suggests die fortitude of a Christian martyr or a heroine of ancient Rome. They also serve as clues to a narrative diat seems to be still unfolding. Who is she and why was she imprisoned? Who is die man whose portrait floats behind her head, and how did it materialize on her cell wall? When will she be led Off to die guillotine? The melodramatic mise-en-scène of the portrait throws into relief the stasis of Cabarrus's pose and the neutrality of her expression. She is at once a society beauty and an actor in the national drama of the Terror.
This arresting amalgam of elite female portraiture and prison narrative disturbed many of its viewers in 1796, at a moment when France was struggling to suppress the memories of the Jacobin Republic and to forge a new state out of its legacy of civil unrest and foreign wars. Cabarrus's portrait commission was a gamble. In 1 796, she was famous both as a political actor and as a fashion icon of questionable virtue. Laneuville, the artist she chose, was best known for his portraits of radical Republican politicians. The imagery they devised treads the line between traditional portrait conventions for elite women and the visual vocabulary of Revolutionary political culture. The painting acknowledges and works around the objections to female political engagement, playing up the sitter's passivity and sentimental attachments while at the same time proposing her as an exemplar of active citizenship. Cabarrus's portrait argues - by intimation, by analogy, and by invocation of the Revolutionary portrait process itself - for her creative intervention in the course of national politics.
Theresia Cabarrus was born in Spain in 1773 to a French banker and his Spanish wife.12 Her father, François Cabarrus, was an important financial adviser to the king and founder of the national bank; although bourgeois in origin and by profession, the Cabarrus family had acquired patents of nobility in France in 1786. Theresia was sent to Paris to be educated and to make an advantageous marriage. Her family's wealtii, their recent ennoblement, and her own beauty weighed in her favor, and in February 1788, at the age of fourteen, she married Jean Jacques Devin, marquis de Fontenay, a member of a recentiy ennobled family with a fortune of 800,000 livres.
The new Mme de Fontenay and her husband plunged into the world of reforming financiers and liberal nobility, socializing with the Lamedis, the Le Peletier de Saint-Fargeaus, and many other early supporters of the Revolution. Indeed, one memoirist alleged that the Fontenays' son, Théodore, born in May 1789, was in fact fathered by Félix Le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau, brother of the future subject of David's first martyr portrait Whether or not her entanglement with progressive politics took so carnal a form, Cabarrus was certainly immersed in the pre-Revolutionary reform movement; she was, for instance, initiated in a Masonic lodge, one of the most important nongovernmental institutions of civil society during the ancien régime and a cradle of Revolutionär)' sentiment. After 1789, Cabarrus was publicly associated with the most radical factions of the new government. Sometime in the summer of 1791, soon after the arrest of the royal family on their flight to Varermes, Cabarrus was the subject of a satiric attack in the aptly named journal La Chronique Scandaleuse. An imaginar)" dialogue between "Mme de Font . . ." and her friend "Don . . . Pic .... femme Lam ..." (AnneMarie Picot, the wife of Charles Lametii) portrayed Cabarrus as botii a libertine and a political radical. Cabarrus tells her friend that she was so happy about the arrest of the king and its probable hastening of the declaration of the Republic that she walked all the way from her suburban estate to Paris, spent the night with Robespierre, dined with Danton, and then attended Picot's ball thrown in celebration of the happy event. Picot says admiringly:
It's your way of thinking that's so dear to me, it's your patriotism, and that elevation of mind that made you rise immediately to the heights of the revolution, that makes me so crazy about your charming nature; and then, my dear, what I adore in you is the courage to have had Mirabeau.
The fictional Cabarrus replies by justifying her adventure with the notoriously ugly comte de Mirabeau - "How could I resist that manly eloquence?" - and then turns the tables on her friend by accusing her husband and brother-in-law, the Lafneth brothers, of not being committed enough to the antimonarchical cause.13 This sexually charged slander was an utterly formulaic means of attacking women who were perceived to be too involved in political affairs; Marie-Antoinette was the target of similar but far more scurrilous accusations. Cabarrus may have been neither a radical Republican nor a sexual adventuress, but her sympathies and her connections were common knowledge, and she had become one of the public faces of the Revolution.
No matter the actual nature of Cabarrus's involvement with the events of the early Revolution, she certainly took advantage of one of the few legislative reforms favorable to women: the legalization of divorce. In 1793, Cabarrus initiated divorce proceedings against her husband and left Paris. She originally intended to rejoin her family in Spain, but in fact she settled in Bordeaux, where she also had relatives. Cabarrus rented an apartment in the center of the city and established a household for herself. This itself was remarkable: a nineteen-year-old Spanish-born noblewoman with pro-Revolutionary sentiments, living alone with her young son in the midst of the Terror, at a moment when being à foreigner and a member of the former aristocracy was more than enough evidence to send someone to the guillotine.
Soon after her arrival in Bordeaux, Cabarrus met Tallien, a deputy to the National Convention who had been sent on a mission to the city to bring it in line with the policies of the Jacobins. Tallien's origins were far humbler than Cabarrus's; his was the classic trajectory of the ambitious lower-middleclass man to whom the Revolution afforded a patii to power. He was the son of the majordomo of a noble family and was employed as a secretary to the same family before becoming a journalist and eventually the secretary of the Parisian public prosecutor. In this capacity Tallien was involved in the September 1792 mob attacks on counterrevolutionary suspects in the Parisian prisons; although Tallien actually attempted to control the violence, he would later be blamed for inciting and abetting the mob.14 Soon after the massacres, Tallien was elected a deputy to die National Convention, and a year later, he was sent to Bordeaux.15 Immediately after his arrival, Tallien and Cabarrus began a very public affair. Cabarrus used her influence with Tallien to save many people from persecution, serving as a power broker and Lady Bountiful for countless petitioners.16 Her efforts did not go unnoticed. A denunciation from November 1793 accused her of protecting aristocrats and corrupting Tallien, but it apparently had little effect on her behavior.17
One of the people who approached Cabarrus for help was Jean-Philippe-Guy Le Gentil, comte de Paroy, an ardent royalist who was also a professional artist. Le Gentil described her apartment and its contents in his memoirs:
... an easel with a painting begun, a box of oil paints, brushes on a sort of stepstool, a drawing table supporting a small stand with a miniature, an English box, an ivory palette and brushes, a desk open and filled with papers, memorandums and petitions, a bookcase with books in disorder, as if they were frequendy used. . . .18
Many elite women took drawing lessons as part of a genteel education, but Paroy's account testifies to Cabarrus's ambitions as an oil painter and a miniaturist. There is some evidence to suggest that she studied with Jean-Baptiste Isabey, the best-known miniaturist of the Revolutionary era. Later in life she produced a credible portrait of her children, which was reproduced in one of the first French lithographs (Fig. 4).19
Paroy mentioned Cabarrus's painting equipment and her memorandums and petitions in the same breath, and, indeed, her activities in Bordeaux went far beyond the usual genteel female occupations or even the dispensing of patronage, another traditional perquisite of elite women. Two surviving political tracts written by Cabarrus in Bordeaux provide a window onto her political ideology. The first essay, on Revolutionary education, was read out loud by a member of die National Convention, mostly likely Tallien, at the Temple of Reason in Bordeaux in December 1793.20 Her call for public education is a smoothly written compendium of Enlightenment and Revolutionary values: the natural virtue of children, the advantages of physical exercise, the importance of sensibility to personal character, the simplicity and frankness necessary to Republican morals, and the role that the citizen-soldier plays in the defense of France. Cabarrus is equally at ease citing John Locke and invoking the heroes of antiquity; virtue and regeneration are her watchwords. The speech was printed up, and Cabarrus sent copies to the Committee of Public Safety in Paris.
The second essay, written in April 1794, took the form of an address to the National Convention. It examined the place of women in the public sphere and called for them to be allowed to work as teachers and nurses in order to reinforce their commiünent to the Republic. Cabarrus begins by reassuring her listeners and readers that she has no intention of claiming equal political rights for women or encouraging in tilem "the absurd ambition to free themselves of their duties by appropriating those of men." However, she continues, women desire, and deserve, a place in the civic order:
... wouldn't it also be a misfortune if, deprived in the name of natine of the exercise of political rights, from which are born strong resolutions and social connections, they believe themselvesjustified in considering themselves strangers to that which should insure the preservation of those rights, and even from diat which could lay the groundwork for their existence? Ah! in a Republic, all must doubdess be republican, and no being endowed with reason can without shame deliberately exile him- or herself from the honorable Work of serving the fatiierland! . . .21
In some ways, this argument reinforces the Revolutionarytrope of women as wives and mothers who encourage their husbands' patriotism and raise children for the nation. Cabarrus falls short of demanding political rights for women, instead merely suggesting diat they play a role in establishing and preserving them. But the sentence about women being deprived of tiiose rights in the name of nature reads like a backhanded swipe against women's exclusion from politics. Women, she implies, are barred from full citizenship not by nature itself (always the highest authority in Revolutionary rhetoric) but by those who speak in the name of nature - a construction that leaves room for doubt about the wisdom of those who make these claims. Cabarrus immediately points out diat such an exclusion runs the risk of alienating women from the Republic. She then issues a stirring call to all beings "endowed with reason," a category in which she includes women. In Cabarrus's interpretation of Revolutionary ideology, political virtue is not the exclusive possession of men. The Republic's survival depends on the active participation of both sexes.
Cabarrus proposes that women work in public institutions as teachers and nurses. Such service, she contends, should be mandatory for unmarried girls, as it would prepare them for their domestic roles as wives and mothers. Her plan for women's civic service was based on widely shared essentialist notions of women's sensibility and morality, but it also assumes that women have a right and a duty to participate in public institutions. She concludes by exhorting the legislators to recognize the fact that women were part of the polity:
Custom, so often the precursor of your decrees, has awarded women the beautiful title of citoyennes. Let this no longer be a vain name with which they adorn themselves; and let them be able to display with pride, or radier with confidence, the true tides of dieir civic duty!22
Cabarrus holds up the speech patterns of the people - an authority only slightly less hallowed tiian nature - as proof that women were in fact already citizens. Giving them an official role in education and nursing would allow them to fully merit this title.
Writing and publishing a proposal about female citizenship was a bold move on die part of a woman who had already been denounced at ieast once for interfering in political matters. Cabarrus was by no means die only woman to have publicized her objections to an exclusively masculine definition of citizenship. Etta Palm d'Aelders published Call to French Women for the Regeneration of Morals and the Necessity of the Influence of Warnen in a Free Government in 1791, the same year diat Olympe de Gouges's Declaration of the Rights of Woman and Citizen appeared in print. 2" These authors are merely the best known among die hundreds of women who published political tracts during die Revolutionary era.24 It is the tinting of Cabarrus's publication that makes her intervention seem particularly aggressive - indeed, foolhardy. Over the course of 1793, the government had banned women's political organizations, forbidden women to speak in front of the legislature, and explicidy excluded women from citizenship. Moreover, by die time Cabarrus published this address and sent it to die National Convention in April 1794, her lover had been recalled to Paris to account for his management of die situation in Bordeaux. Cabarrus, meanwhile, had remained engaged in local politics and had also started a factory producing saltpeter, a key ingrethent of gunpowder and a major part of the Revolution's war machine.25
Was Cabarrus oblivious to the dangers she ran by publicizing herself and her ideas, botii in Bordeaux and in Paris, in a period when the Terror was accelerating? She was no fool, as her writings attest, and her relationship with Tallien must have given her considerable insight into the workings of the government. It is more likely that her efforts to publicize her political engagements were intended as a form of preemptive selfjustification, a defense against accusations that she had corrupted Tallien and used her influence to save aristocrats from the guillotine. As a good Republican, Cabarrus may have decided diat transparency was the best policy. All her political and economic support for the Revolution, however, could not change die fact diat she was botii foreign-born and a member of the nobility. Two days after her address was read in Bordeaux, the National Convention expelled all foreigners and former nobles from port and frontier towns. A few weeks later, Cabarrus obtained a passport to leave Bordeaux, a document that described her as "height five feet two inches, white and pretty face, black hair, well-made forehead, light eyebrows, brown eyes, well-made nose, small mouth, round chin."26 Despite die obvious dangers, she traveled to Paris and was prompdy arrested.
The story of Cabarrus's arrest and imprisonment quickly became part of die romantic legend of the Revolution, due in large part to Tallien 's and her own repetitions and embroideries. The earliest detailed account that survives is that of the Geneva-born traveler Charles de Constant (cousin of writer and politician Benjamin Constant). In letters sent to his family during a trip to Paris in 1796, he records his impressions of Cabarrus, whom he met at a luncheon in the company of her friend Rose de la Pagerie, better known as Joséphine de Beauhamais, Napoléon Bonaparte's first wife. After devoting many lines to Cabarrus's beautiful person and stylish dress, he transcribes her description of the ordeal.27 Arriving at the prison of La Force in the middle of the night, Cabarrus says, she was stripped of her clodies in front of eight men. Reclothed in only her chemise and a rough canvas dress, she was held in isolation in a windowless and filthy cell for twenty-five days. During that time, she resisted all attempts to bribe her into denouncing Tallien and his political allies. Finally, her jailors took pity on her and allowed her to spend an hour a day in a better-lit and ventilated cell. There she drew a self-portrait on the wall. Her jailors noticed her talent and asked her to draw their portraits. Soon thereafter, a mysterious benefactor smuggled paper and pen to her disguised in a head of lettuce. She used these supplies to write letters to Tallien, first in her own blood and then hi pigments given to her by her jailors in exchange for her services as a portraitist. Cabarrus warned her lover that she was to be sent to the guillotine in a matter of days and related a dream in which Tallien had overthrown Robespierre. Tallien replied that he would either obtain her release or go to the guillotine with her; the next day, he led a successful coup against the Jacobin regime.
Cabarrus's romantic account of her imprisonment and escape, in which love and politics are inextricably intertwined, was no doubt largely invented to sugarcoat the couple's previous and subsequent actions. However, the Revolutionary public was clearly ready to believe, or at least be charmed by, Cabarrus's story. She left prison a celebrity, hailed as "Our Lady of Thermidor," the motivating force behind the overthrow of Robespierre. As Cabarrus put it herself later in life, "it's a bit by my little hand that the guillotine was toppled."28
Now that she had moved from Bordeaux to Paris, the center of government, she became a major force on the social and political circuits. She claimed credit for taking the keys to the Jacobin Club, the radical political party that drove the Terror, effectively shutting it down. In the aftermath of the coup, she employed her diplomatic skills to reconcile the factions wrestling for power. Her political leverage was increased by her position as the most visible of the female leaders of fashion known in contemporary commentary as the merveilleuses. In the post-Revolutionary social hierarchy, die women of the court had been replaced as fashion leaders and power brokers by newcomers distinguished not by their birtiT but by their wealth, their connections to military and legislative leaders, and their spectacular taste in clothing and interior decoration.29 Cabarrus cemented her membership in this group by marrying Tallien in December 1794; five months later, she gave birth to a daughter named ThermidorRose, after the momentous event that made her parents into political celebrities and Cabarrus's best friend, Rose de la Pagerie.
With celebrity came renewed attacks in the press. The new Mme Tallien 's taste for semitransparent muslin dresses and her determination to play a central role in Parisian society attracted the ire of commentators who connected her popularity with the corruption of already fragile post-Thermidorean Republican virtue. Less than a month after her marriage, a Parisian journal complained that Cabarrus was distracting the public from the real challenges facing the Republic:
Enormous luxury, concerts, the singer Garat and the beautiful citoyenne Cabarus, wife of Tallien, that's what occupies people here, far more than subsistence and oui" fourteen armies. ... Is she arriving? People applaud enthusiastically, as if having a Roman or Spanish face, superb skin, beautiful eyes, noble bearing, a smile in which amiability tempers influence, a Grecian dress and naked arms was to save the republic. . . . Several journals have multiplied the literal copies of the same portrait of Theresia Cabarus, portrait in several columns, where we see successively Orpheus, Eurydice, Duhem, Cambon, the nexo Antoinette of some, the goddess of others. . . . What taste! How much wit! And what republican morals!30
Cabarrus is accused of distracting the people from the real political issues at hand - food shortages and the war - with her beauty, her radical fashions, and, by implication, her immorality. The commentator not only enumerates her physical charms but also strategically alludes to her Spanish birth and her reputation as a protector of the victims of the Terror, two circumstances diat supplied fodder for attacks on Cabarrus from the surviving political left. The writer also refers to the written portraits of her published in various journals. For some, her story evokes the Classical narrative of Orpheus and Eurydice, in which a man (almost) frees his beloved from death. For others, she is an ally of the moderate deputies Pierre joseph Duhem and Joseph Cambon, who collaborated with Tallien to establish a post-Thermidorean government. But some descriptions of Cabarrus, the author notes coyly, paint her as a new Marie-Antoinette, partying while the people starved and the Republic's armies struggled to defend France against a coalition of hostile European forces.' It is unclear if the concluding ironic reference to "republican morals" is directed toward Cabarrus, those who allow themselves to be fascinated by her, or her detractors in print, but there is no mistaking the author's disapproval of her behavior.
These criticisms, aldiough steeped in the micropolitics of 1795 and 1796, in essence reiterated condemnations of women's influence on politics dating from the ancien régime. As Cabarrus had discovered at the beginning of the Revolution, a woman in the public sphere could not help but be caught in an endless loop in which political participation was equated with sexual immorality and the subversion of the notionally serious and pure masculine political order. This criticism extended to her husband, who discovered that the aureole surrounding the hero of Thermidor did not protect him from condemnation for his own role in the Terror or, from the other end of the political spectrum, suspicions of royalist plotting. Soon after the coup, he was accused in the Jacobin Club of counterrevolutionary tendencies. His liaison with Cabarrus, "the wife of an émigré and the daughter of the treasurer of the king of Spain," constituted the primary evidence against him. Tallien defended himself by characterizing Cabarrus as an innocent victim who had been willing to sacrifice herself radier dian sign a false accusation against him.32 Tallien's enemies in the legislature also attacked him through his connection to Cabarrus, compelling him to announce his marriage in a session of the National Convention in an attempt to defend himself and his new wife from accusations of royalism.33 In the same month, Januar)' 1795, a newspaper article reporting on the Tallien controversy provided a much-pruned biographical sketch of Cabarrus. It emphasized her early commitment to die Revolution and her courage during the Terror while minimizing her wealth and downplaying her Spanish connections, turning her father the royal minister into an uncle.34
The attacks on Cabarrus and Tallien from botii the left and the right mirrored public resistance to the post-Thermidorean government. Over the course of 1795, the legislators suppressed jacobin-inspired popular violence in Paris in support of "Bread and die Constitution of 1 793," beat back a counterrevolutionary invasion of Brittany led by émigré nobility, and deputized rising military star Napoléon Bonaparte to put down a royalist uprising in Paris. In die winter and spring of 1796, a new constitution was written, a government headed by five executive directors was sworn in, and another serious leftist conspiracy, led by Gracchus Babeuf, was exposed and dismantied. While her husband struggled to find a place in the new government, Cabarrus continued to occupy the public eye and to forge alliances with ascendant political figures like Napoléon Bonaparte (her friend Rose's new husband) and Paul Barras, one of the new directors and the organizer of the recent suppression of the royalist uprising.
Sometime in 1796, Cabarrus decided to commission a portrait from Laneuville. Litde is known about the artist beyond the bare ou dines of his biography. He was born in 1748 and studied at least briefly with David. He exhibited in the open-air Salon de la Jeunesse in Paris between 1783 and 1789 and began sending pictures to die official Salon as soon as it opened to those who were not members of die Royal Academy in 1791. Laneuville seems to have particularly sought out die patronage of political figures. In 1 793, for instance, eight of the twelve portraits he sent to die Salon were of politicians, as were four of his six portraits in the Salon of 1795. All of the sitters who are identifiable were on the political left. Laneuville must have specifically targeted this clientele, ethier because of his personal sympathies or because he sensed an untapped market; at least four of the deputy portraits were still in his studio at his death in 1826, suggesting that he painted them on his own initiative in order to drum up more business.35
All of Laneuville's known portraits from die Revolutionary era adhere to a süict formula: single figures, strongly delineated against a neutral background; the meticulous detailing of physiognomy and material goods; a polished paint application diat effaces die hand of the artist; reduction of color to a contrast of strong tones; and, almost invariably, intense, level, and sober eye contact between the sitter and the viewer. The 1793-94 portrait of die radical deputy and journalist Bertrand Barere de Vieuzac is typical of Laneuville's style (Fig. 5). The determined regard of Barère, who leans on papers referring to his role in the trial and execution of Louis XVI, summons the viewer to share in his seriousness and to join him in the fraternity of popular sovereignty. Laneuville inherited this formula from his master, and he followed it so faithfully diat his best portraits have invariably been misattributed to David. The illusion of immediacy and transparency fostered by these visual strategies suited Revolutionary notions of the politically engaged self.
Laneuville's display of Republican portraiture at die Salon of 1 793 must have attracted Jean-Lambert Tallien's attention - or perhaps Tallien's celebrity attracted Laneuville, who had already demonstrated his eagerness to build his business. In die first Salon after Thermidor, in 1795, a portrait of the newly married Tallien was included in Laneuville's entry, along with images of three other deputies, an exminister, a military officer, and an artist.36 Cabarrus was evidendy pleased enough with Laneuville's efforts on behalf of her husband to award the artist the commission of her own portrait.37 But Laneuville was still an odd choice of portraitist for a woman and for a leader of the reborn Parisian elite. If money was no object, she could have addressed herself to David - although the memory of his friendship with Robespierre and his martyr portraits may have held unwelcome associations for the wife of a former Terrorist. Joseph Ducreux, another veteran of the pre-Revolutionary portrait market, had sent a portrait of Cabarrus's friend Rose de la Pagerie to the 1795 Salon. Rising stars like François Gérard or Robert Lefèvre would also have been fashionable (and economical) choices. All of these artists were producing sophisticated and elegant portraits of women in 1795, while Laneuville was working almost exclusively for men. Cabarrus's previous portrait commissions are poorly documented, but the only two early portraits identified with her are by female artists: a bust portrait attributed to Rosalie Filleul, a contemporary and friend of the young Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, and a half-length image attributed to Marie-Geneviève Bouliar.38 If these commissions are indicative of Cabarrus's taste and her commitment to female artists, she could certainly have chosen one of the thirteen female portraitists who showed work in the Salon of 1795.
Instead, Cabarrus gave the commission to Laneuville, a painter who specialized in intense, confrontational portraits of male politicians in which physical and psychological immediacy stood in for Republican virtues. These strategies were difficult to apply to a female sitter, especially an ambitious, politically engaged woman who had frequently come under public attack for her opinions and also for her perceived or real sexual adventures. Cabarrus, by embracing this masculine aesthetic and inserting herself into a politically charged narrative, deliberately appropriated conventions that had been eagerly adopted by male commissioners during the Revolution.
Coming up with an effective visual vocabulary for female political engagement in 1796, then, posed a real challenge. Cabarrus put her finger on the problem in her 1794 address: the Revolutionary promise of universal liberty and equality did not extend to women, who were excluded from the "exercise of political rights" on the grounds of natural difference. Cabarrus advocated a partial extension of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship to women without challenging assumptions about their essentially nurturing and domestic nature. In the first years of the Revolution, many other women took the Revolution at its word, forming political clubs and leading popular demonstrations. Feminists of both sexes argued for the necessity of awarding political rights to women. The government's hostile response to feminist demands demonstrated the general unwillingness to extend the promise of liberty and equality to women.
The acceptable model for Revolutionary women was summed up by the deputy André Amar in 1793:
They can illuminate their husbands, communicate to them precious reflections, fruit of the calm of a sedentary life, use all the empire that private love gives them to fortify in them [their husbands] the love of the fatherland; and the man, illuminated by informal and peaceful diseussions in the midst of his household, will bring back to society die useful ideas that an honest woman gives him.39
Amar acknowledges women's capacity for sound political reflection but insists that the only proper arena for those reflections is the home, and the only conduit for them an attentive husband. This was a relatively generous assessment of women's role in the Republic. Many other theorists felt that the female contribution to the public sphere began and ended with raising children for the nation. The visual vocabulary of Revolutionary femininity was likewise dominated by images of Republican wives and mothers.40 A 1 794 print of a family at the Festival of the Supreme Being neady summarizes the roles available to women: wife guided by her husband, mother educating her children, daughter following her mother's lead, or limp allegorical personification of Nature or the Republic (Fig. 6). Portraiture for the most part reflected the limited range of imagery popularized by prints, as the examples of David's Portrait of Louise Pastoret or the anonymous woman with the sans-culotte miniature testify.
Cabarrus commissioned a different kind of portrait. By hiring Laneuville, she allied herself with the kind of male political portraiture he practiced and the kind of active citizenship he pictured. Their collaboration resulted in an image that combined the safely passive imagery of Revolutionary femininity with conventions usually associated with men. This approach suited Cabarrus's unorthodox public persona. She had never been particularly concerned with following the rules governing eighteenth-century women, whether they concerned sexual propriety, financial dependence, or maintaining silence on political matters. A twenty-year-old divorcée and proprietor of an ammunitions factory who did not hesitate to publish a pamphlet calling for greater civic involvement for women in 1794, long after women's political clubs had been banned, was the ideal client for a portrait that broke down barriers between male and female modes of representation.
In many ways, Laneuville 's depiction of Cabarrus pays Up service to the conventions of female portraiture of the early 1790s. David's 1790 portrait of Anne-Marie-Louise Thélusson, comtesse de So rey, established the post-Revolutionary grammar of this mode of portraiture, which was recombined with more or less fluency by younger artists such as Charles-Paul Landon (Figs. 7, 8). Laneuville's portrait borrows liberally from these models: Cabarrus's seated three-quarter-length pose, her calm face and level gaze turned outward toward the viewer, the simple white dress brighdy lit against a sober neutral background, and the position of her arms and hands are all characteristic of the work of David and his many students and imitators. Like David and Landon, Laneuville invested considerable energy in the meticulous re-creation of the details of costume and accessories, and effaced most if not all traces of brushwork. The result is an illusion of literal and figurative transparency between the sitter and the viewer. The proximity of the sitters to the picture plane and the steady eye contact they maintain with the viewer reinforce the feeling of intimacy.
This visual strategy was employed for both men and women in the early 1790s, as Laneuville's portraits of politìcians attest. Its roots extended back to Vigée-Lebrun 's portraits of the 1780s, which tíiemselves represented the culmination of a visual culture of Enlightenment selfhood that celebrated emotional honesty and communion with others. This mode of portraiture held different connotations for men and women, however. For men like Laneuville's sitters, it served to emphasize their civic engagement, a message reinforced by their upright postures, their level gazes, and their firm grasp on their documents or pens. It evoked the communion of die body politic, in which male citizens confronted each other on an equal footing. For female sitters, immediacy and communion were generally played as domestic intimacy or a tame kind of desirability rather than as civic engagement. The canny manipulation of pose and accessories tempered any risk of assertiveness, political or sexual. David's women of the 1790s, for instance, clutch flowers, children, or implements of handicraft or keep their hands demurely clasped. Female sitters were often posed leaning slightly forward or backward, their bodies and clothing tracing curved lines in contrast to the male uprights. Landon scores a hat trick in his portrait of an unidentified sitter: she is depicted reclining, clasping her hands, and sandwiched between a vase of flowers, an unopened book, and a basket of yarn.
Laneuville's portrait of Cabarrus follows the rules for female portraits but subtly manipulates them to accommodate strategies generally reserved for male sitters. Cabarrus is seated not on die standard wooden or upholstered chair, an accessory that served as a sign of luxury consumption, but on a stone ledge covered in straw. Mottled gray masonry walls replace the richly draped Neoclassical interior of the Landon portrait and serve as a kind of gallows-humor retort to David's elegantly neutral backdrops. Cabarrus's costume also differs in subtle but meaningful ways from the fashionable dress of other female sitters of the 1790s. Given the rapid pace of sartorial change during the Revolution, and particularly the promotion of radically pared-down dresses à la grecque (inspired by Classical antiquity) by Cabarrus and other leaders of post-Thermidorean society, it is significant that Cabarrus chose a relatively conservative costume for her 1796 portrait. By eschewing the transparent muslins and entirely bare arms seen in many contemporaneous portraits, Cabarrus warded off the accusations of immorality and extravagance that had already been leveled at her in the press. Laneuville and Cabarrus further undermined the modishness of the dress by substituting a roughly knotted checked scarf for the standard satin sash or cashmere shawl. The knotted scarf turns the dress from an expensive commodity into the improvised costume of a prisoner deprived of all creature comforts- - more like the shift that Cabarrus claimed was her only clothing in prison. Her hair is similarly like but unlike that of other female sitters. Undressed, unadorned by ribbons, and falling limply onto her shoulders, the undisciplined tendrils curling against her white shoulders and neck call attention to what is missing: the severed locks that spill out of Cabarrus's hand and fill her lap. The cut hair is Cabarrus's attribute in this portrait, occupying the hand that in other female portraits lies idle or holds a needle, a book, or a child's hand.
The cut hair is more than a personal attribute. It is the catalyst for a narrative, referring viewers to a moment in time just before the prisoner's transportation to the guillotine and to political events outside the portrait's frame. This is, moreover, a national as well as a personal narrative. Cabarrus's portrait inserts her into French history, recalling to viewers in 1796 the events of the Terror and the pivotal roles that she and her husband played. Laneuville gives his sitter a type of agency reserved, both legally and visually, for men. Like male commissioners, Cabarrus uses visual representation to claim a stake in the Revolution. She belongs to die Revolution, and die Revolution belongs to her; she is a citoyenne, as die title of the portrait insists.
But Cabarrus knew better than most women (having published on the topic) that female citizenship was inherently contradictory. To claim too much political agency was to run the risk of drawing criticism as a "new Antoinette," a manipulator of men whose ambitions were inseparable from her greed and sexual aggression. Cabarrus and her portraitist hedged their bets, promoting her role in Revolutionary history while at the same time stressing her beauty, her capacity for sentiment, and her physical passivity. The pose and costume borrowed from standard female portraiture help to reassure viewers that the sitter is a woman first and a political actor second. Cabarrus and Laneuville also temper the portrait's claims by emphasizing Cabarrus's status as a victim. She changed the course of the Revolution, the portrait implies, by inspiring her lover to take action. This was the kind of female civic engagement that was endorsed by Amar in 1793; Cabarrus used the private empire that love gave her over Tallien to strengthen his resolve and inspire him to action in the public sphere.
Laneuville borrowed from prison and victim imagery, both ancient and contemporary, in order to dignify (and sugarcoat) Cabarrus's ambitions. The fortitude of prisoners was a stock subject of pre-Revolutionary history painting; Laneuville would have been intimately familiar with David's Death of Socrates (1787), and scenes of imprisonment and sacrifice such as Jean-Fran cois-Pierre Peyron's Funeral of Miltiades (1780) or François-André Vincent's Arria and Poetus (1784) would also have formed part of his and his viewers' visual vocabulary. The prison theme was revived and updated after Thermidor as a means of engaging with the Terror and its aftermath. Numerous prison-themed portraits and genre scenes were produced during the Terror, or retrospectively after the fall of Robespierre. At Jeast ten of these images could be seen at the Salons of 1 795 and 1 796. Some of the portrait sittings had taken place in prison, as was the case with Joseph-Benoît Suvée's portrait of the famous poet and politician André Chénier, who was imprisoned with the artist and who sat for his portrait just before his execution (Fig. 9). Suvée exhibited Chénier's portrait in the Salon of 1795, along with images of three other doomed prisoners.41 Other images, such as the scenes of everyday prison life that Hubert Robert painted during his incarceration or David's profile drawings of his fellow Jacobins made while they all faced judgment for their roles in die Terror, circulated privately. These images provided commissioners, artists, and viewers with a means of putting human faces on the Terror and making sense of its place in the already bewildering historical narrative of the Revolution. Many had strong political motivations; Suvée and his sitters were all anti-Jacobin, and David's portraits, as Ewa Lajer-Burcharth has argued, attempted to reinsert their disgraced subjects into a heroic Republican lineage that began with portrait prints of National Assembly deputies in the first years of the Revolution.42 Prison portraits explicitly associated their sitters with the greatest drama of the Revolution and (with the exception of David's Jacobin portraits) communicated a political position as a victim of Robespierre- - an enemy who united monarchists and moderates alike in 1794 and 1795.
Prison portraits, especially those actually produced in jail, were meant to evoke a kind of deathbed sincerity, functioning as dieir sitters' last testament. Even sitters like Cabarrus who commissioned these portraits retrospectively, as records of their escape from political oppression, used the solemnity of the depicted moment and place to lend their self representation a fixed, memorial quality. In this way, prison portraiture served much the same purpose as the written political selfjustifications required of many prisoners, or the letters that the condemned wrote to their loved ones. A selection of these "last letters," intercepted by the Revolutionary tribunal, have been collected in a volume by Olivier Blanc.43 Despite the disparate concerns and political positions of their authors, some common themes emerge: protestations of innocence, exhortations that the recipients remember them, messages of love for spouses and children, and insistence that their friends and family refrain from taking vengeance on their persecutors. A surprising number of prisoners employ Revolutionary rhetoric or swear their allegiance to the Republic. Prison portraits like Cabarrus's touch on the same themes: innocence, Jove, and raemorialization. Cabarrus's saintly demeanor, her level gaze, and the commemorative profile portrait on the wall behind her impress on the viewer her fortitude and her confidence that her hands, at least, are clean.
Most prison images, like the letters of condemned prisoners, play on themes of resignation and tolerance. The latter virtue became particularly important after tile fall of Robespierre, as France tried to suppress the culture of denunciation and reconstitute the government and civil society. A pair of prison-themed portraits by Pierre-Nicolas Legrand de Lerant from 1794-95 exemplifies this spirit of national reconciliation. The two paintings were commissioned to commemorate the generosity of a prison guard named Joseph Cange. Discovering that the family of a prisoner under his watch was in desperate financial straits, Cange gave the prisoner the money he needed, claiming that it came from the prisoner's wife. When the wife visited her imprisoned husband, Cange gave her money, too, in die name of the prisoner. When the prisoner was released, die jailor's charity was discovered, and the grateful recipients commissioned both a bust portrait of their benefactor and a more elaborate image that made the jailor, the released prisoner, and their families into the main characters of a Greuzian scene of gratitude (Fig. 10). 44 The latter painting reveals the eagerness of portrait commissioners to insert themselves into the Revolutionary narrative; the tricolor cockades and liberty bonnets, the obviously institutional setting, and the public notices about nationalized property point toward the political context of these seemingly private emotions. It also demonstrates how the theme of the compassionate jailor and the virtuous prisoner was used to heal the wounds of the Terror. The charitable act of Cange, the good sans-culotte, testifies to the essential virtue of k peuple, the implication being that the bloodthirsty sansculotte was an aberration, led astray by a small group of perfidious Jacobin leaders who had already paid with their lives for their sins. The gratitude of the bourgeois family in turn provides viewers with a model of class-blind fraternity. The prisoner/commissioner, wronged by the Jacobins, puts aside his legitimate grievances and embraces his worthy jailor. Everyone, it appears, is a good person, and all French citizens are members of the same family.
Cabarrus's 1796 portrait capitalizes on the emotions evoked by the prison imagery of the immediate post-Terror period. Indeed, its belatedness points to die sitter's will to return to a moment in her life, and the nation's, when the line between political virtue and vice seemed clearer. Her choice of this mode of portraiture served to refute the accusations of immorality, foreignness, and royaiism leveled at her in the press and to recall the heady days immediately after her release from prison, when she was hailed as "Our Lady of Thermidor," the savior of die nation. By casting herself as a prisoner, Cabarrus reminded viewers of her righteous refusal to inculpate her lover, as well as her suffering in prison. But she does so without any overt reference to politics besides a vague and uncontroversial anti-Robespierrism - a wise approach for a woman who had incurred ire from both the left and the right. Instead, she and her portraitist trade in the universal language of youth and beauty.
Even this kind of patiios had become politicized after the fall of Robespierre. Immediately after Thermidor, one of André Chénier's last poems was published in the Decade Philosophique, a leading journal. Chénier had become something of an emblem of the excesses of the Terror, as Suvée's exhibition of his portrait in the Salon of 1795 attests. The poem, entitled "La jeune captive," was an ode to a beautiful young female prisoner, written in the woman's voice. The prisoner's naive refusal of death penetrates the narrator's despair and inspires him to continue writing:
"Oh death! You can wait, go, go away
Go console the hearts devoured by shame, fear, and pale despair.
For me Pales still has green havens,
Cupid has kisses, the Muses concerts.
I don't want to die yet."4;)
"La jeune captive" was chosen for publication from among Chénier's far angrier and more explicidy political prison poems; its sen timen talism cloaked the poet's politics in a more neutral language of love and femininity. Laneuville's portrait of Cabarrus does much the same work; the sitter's claim to political agency is softened by the lyricism of her likeness. In Cabarrus's case, however, no displacement is needed. She is both die symbol of youtii and innocence and die intellectual who uses that symbol as a means of commenting on national events.
The painting, nonetheless, remains a portrait, no matter how poetic, and its primary concern is the depiction of a unique and intact self, caught in a situation designed to erode and eventually destroy that self. Laneuville's portrait is ultimately about the integrity and the independence of the subject under the worst possible Circumstances. The implicit claim about the integrity of the self - and particularly of the female self - was inherently political, given that women's supposed lack of autonomy was used as grounds to deny their political rights. One of the most pointed signs of femininity in the portrait is also the most potent marker of self-determination: Cabarrus's hair. Cabarrus was famous for her long black hair; it functions in the portrait as one of her personal attributes. But hair was also a central element of the prison narratives of the Terror and a powerful symbol of the intact self. It was standard practice to cut prisoners' hair just before they were sent to the guillotine, ostensibly to clear the path for the falling blade.46 Hair in the eighteenth century was the ultimate pledge of intimacy and devotion; the hah" of friends and family was incorporated into jewelry and plaited into initials or decorative patterns on the reverse of portrait miniatures. The cutting of their hair was experienced by prisoners as a gross violation of their persons. Many prisoners included locks of hair in their last letters, along with the assurance that they had cut it themselves. "I hope that they will give you my hair which has not been touched by the executioner,'' wrote a twenty-two-year-old woman to her brother on the day of her death.47
Cabarrus's shorn locks occupy the place in the portrait usually reserved for symbols of the sitter's identity - pens or scrolls for men, flowers or novels for women. In Cabarrus's portrait, the hair not only symbolizes femininity and her particular beauty but also defiance of Robespierre's authority and imminent death. Cabarrus, the portrait argues, retained her self-possession in the face of the destruction of that self. Her body, composed as if for a society portrait, glows white against the massive stones of the tenebrous prison, and her steady gaze meets that of the viewer. The cut hair warns of other cuts to come, but it remains within Cabarrus's grasp. She has preserved at least this much of her self, and her self-de termination.
The profile portrait drawn on the wall behind Cabarrus's head is another sign of self-determination, one that functions on many levels. Taken literally, it is a mark of female accomplishment of the kind that often made its appearance in portraiture. A 1793 portrait of a young noblewoman by the distinguished history painter and portraitist Vincent, a painting that falls squarely into the category of elegant Revolutionary society portrait, similarly foregrounds its sitter's skills as a portraitist (Fig. 11). We know from contemporary accounts and from surviving works that Cabarrus was a competent portraitist who worked in pen and ink, watercolor, and oil. Her skills as a draftsman appear here hi part as testimony to her gentility. In Laneuville's portrait, diough, drawing is elevated from a token of feminine accomplishment to something far more serious. Cabarrus's draftsmanship becomes a symbol of her initiative and her resourcefulness. Because she was a portraitist, she was able to win over her jailors and obtain the materials she needed to engineer her escape. Drawing is the key to her contribution to Revolutionary history. By filling up this normally hollow attribute, Laneuville and Cabarrus manipulated the conventions of female portraiture in order to signal both her femininity and the ways she exceeded the limitations of that category.
As the Vincent painting demonstrates, a portrait within a portrait was also a sign of womanly emotion. Vincent's sitter has drawn a male head, presumably a husband or relative, and the portrait on the wall behind Cabarrus could have been (and perhaps was meant to be) read by contemporary viewers as an image of Tallien. To sketch one's lover's profile was a pleasantly sentimental occupation for a woman, reminiscent of die novels of sensibility popular in late eighteenthcentury France. It also recalls the story of Dibutades, the Corinthian girl said to have invented the art of drawing by tracing the silhouette of her lover on a wall. This was a favorite theme of artists in the last decades of the eighteenth century; it provided the visual arts with a graceful origin myth. Suvée, one of the elder statesmen of French history painting and enthusiastic producer of prison portraits, had exhibited an austerely designed Dibutades painting at the Salon of 1 793, which would have been fresh in the minds of Laneuville and his viewers (Fig. 12). Suvée's version of the story, with its stripped-down interior, massive masonry walls, and sober palette, was a Dibutades for the Terror, solemnly recalling art's memorial function in the face of absence or death. The anguished face of the lover and his tight grip on his beloved /portraitist' s waist heighten the impression of impending loss. Cabarrus, in her simple white dress à la grecque, makes a convincing Dibutades, and the pathetic reference to a departed lover would have resonated with the "Jeune captive" strain of post-Thermidor depoliticized prison narratives. The associations of cut hair with lovers' exchanges of locks and with portrait miniatures would only have strengthened the mythological and sentimental import of the profile portiait.
The formal treatment of the portrait within the portrait, however, wrenches it out of the decorous realm of myth and poetry and brings the viewer back to the unpleasant contingencies of 1794. The portrait is traversed by one of the verticals of the masonry blocks on which it is drawn. That edge, which effectively severs a diird of the head, is itself terminated by jagged gouges, as if a previous prisoner had attempted to chip away at die mortar. This vertical leads the eye downward to other broken edges in the masonry and to the missing shard in the rim of the pitcher that presumably contains the prisoner's water ration. All these cuts and lacunae reinforce the message of the cut hair: Cabarrus is bound for the guillotine. The disembodied and sectioned profile portrait hovers behind the cropped head of the prisoner like a vision of the near future.
If the portrait within the portrait was read by contemporary viewers as an image of Tallien, it would have served as one of Cabarrus's attributes, an indication both of her talents and of her womanly attachments. But if the profile portrait is understood as an image of Cabarrus's jailor, as suggested by her own account of her imprisonment, it becomes the key both to a narrative unfolding over time and to a particular political interpretation of the Terror. Cabarrus claimed that her skills as a portraitist enabled her to win over her jailors and obtain the necessary material to communicate with Tallien. Her draftsmanship, in other words, ended the Terror. The profile on the wall gives Cabarrus's portrait the narrative structure of a history painting; it implies past actions on the part of the heroine and points to tibe future results of her initiative. A portrait of an accommodating jailor also connects Cabarrus to die spirit of pOst-Thermidorean reconciliation represented by Legrand de Lerant's images of Cange and his grateful beneficiaries. Cabarrus styled herself an agent of political harmony after the fall of Robespierre, and advertising her ability to forge a connection even with her jailors would have advanced her cause. Moreover, a former aristocrat married to a parvenu and erstwhile Terrorist had particular reason to argue that die common humanity invoked by portrait making superseded any factionalism or class difference.
The emphatic use of the honorific "citoyenne" in the tide of Cabarrus's portrait drives home thé political ramifications of the image. Many Revolutionary portraits went to the Salons with "citoyen" or "citoyenne" in dieir tides, and die feminine version of the term did not necessarily indicate any particular political convictions on the part of die sitter, besides perhaps a general sympathy for Revolutionary cultural reforms. Nonetheless, die term "citoyenne," as die historian William Sewell points out, was inherendy provocative. Its popularization in everyday language was by no means initiated or endorsed by the Revolutionary government (as Cabarrus's essay points out), and its application to a category of person legally denied political rights and responsibilities made obvious the exclusions built into the supposedly universal rights of man. The tide "citoyenne" gave women the dangerous impression that they, too, were included in the body politic.48
Cabarrus had already claimed the tide of "citoyenne" in writing; in 1 796, she did so in paint. Her portrait works from within the conventions of female portraiture and Republican femininity to make an argument about the kinds of political agency that a woman could wield. The audiority diat Cabarrus appropriates is in part traditionally feminine and thus passive: the power of beauty to inspire great deeds, the moral suasion of conjugal (or soon-to-be conjugal) love, the plight of innocence wrongly accused. This passivity is echoed visually in her static pose, white drapery, and mild gaze. At the same time, Cabarrus also exploits the narrative possibilities of Revolutionary portraimre to position herself as a political actor. Indeed, she appropriates the cultural and political power that portraiture had itself wrested from history painting. Her portrait declares her to be a portraitist. She has created another self even as she maintains her own bodily and subjective integrity under the most debilitating of circumstances. Cabarrus the portraitist, who used the empatiiy between sitter and artist to make her jailors into her allies, is an emissary of reconcUiation after a fratticidal conflict that called into question the very unity of the French nation.
Laneuville's portrait of Cabarrus manages to picture her both as an innocent victim and as a political actor. But the balance struck by sitter and artist is a delicate one. The recycling of older conventions and the indirection of using artistic creation as a metaphor for Revolutionary virtues testify to the difficulties of depicting female citizenship. By promoting the image of a beautiful prisoner whose influence over a powerful man changed the political course of the nation, Laneuville and Cabarrus ran the risk of invoking any number of unflattering comparisons: to Marie-Antoinette, vilified as a foreigner, a sexual predator, and the power behind the throne; to the princesse de Lam balle, the queen's alleged partner in crime, who had famously been decapitated during the September 1792 prison massacres; and to Charlotte Corday, the assassin of Jean-Paul Marat, who had become a counterrevolutionary folk hero for her beauty and her sangfroid in prison. The supposedly salutatory effect of wives' influence over their husbands promoted by the ideal of Republican womanhood could not outweigh in the public imagination these recent images of women imprisoned for their crimes against nature and the Revolution. Given that Cabarrus had already, by 1796, been condemned in the press as a new Marie-Antoinette, she and her portraitist should have anticipated the dangers of telling a story involving a woman who pressured her lover into overthrowing the government.
Laneuville and Cabarrus must have hoped that the portrait would make a splash at the Salon of 1796. It was the kind of portrait that usually attracted public and critical attention: the canvas was large, the composition told a story as well as providing a likeness, the political references were sensational and (relatively) up-to-date, and the sitter was both famous and beautiful. The portrait's reception, however, was underwhelming. Indeed, according to one of the few references to the painting in the Salon criticism of that year, in the Critique du Salon, ou les tableaux en vaudevilles, it was removed from public view soon after it was hung. The portrait apparendy recalled too vividly the political passions of the Terror: "This picture, which only stayed on view for a few days, recalled the awful time when France was Composed of nothing but executioners and victims, and made those sensitive souls who dared fix their gazes on this painting recoil in horror."49 The innocence and beauty of the sitter apparently did not mitigate the portrait's evocation of the guillotine. Moreover, this critic willfully misread Cabarrus's image as a piece of Jacobin propaganda, interpreting the prison theme in light of her husband's alleged role in the September 1792 massacres. He or she described the portrait (in verse, since the review was peppered with vaudeville-style song lyrics) as a record of these earlier Jacobin crimes:
The scene was in the prison
of the unhappy Lamballe;
and Cabarus, whose intentions
Are not to embolden crime (1)
Held, it iuas said, in her hands
The hair of that victim.50
By turning Cabarrus's hair, the symbol of both her beauty and her direatened bodily integrity, into a relic of the princesse de Lamballe, a woman firmly associated botii with the royal family and with Tallien's supposedly radical past, the critic undermined Cabarrus's efforts at self-creation and effectively dismantled the portrait's central strategy. The incongruous number in the middle of the "song" sent the reader to a footnote, which explained that the author did not hold Cabarrus personally responsible for the horrors imputed to her husband. In this account, Cabarrus was neither the important historical figure nor the independent political actor she styled herself. She was just an accessoiy to crimes committed by others.
The handful of other reviewers who mentioned the portrait merely damned it with faint praise. The anonymous author of the pamphlet Les êtrivières de Juvenal, ou Satire sur les tableaux exposés au Louvre l'an Vöffhandedly noted the picture of "la citoyenne. Tallien" and concluded "elle est bien" (she's good) - a characterization perhaps prompted less by the quality of tile portrait or the sitter's reputation for beauty and benevolence than by the fact diat "bien" rhymes nicely with "Tallien."51 L'Ami des Arts noted cryptically that the portrait had "reappeared" and that "the changes diat have been made have introduced more harmony, but the work is too noticeable."''2 It is unclear what these changes consisted of, or what problem they sought to correct, besides a generalized lack of harmony. The evidence of the Salon criticism suggests that the painting arrived, was criticized (at least in anti-Jacobin circles) for its theme, was removed, revised, and rehung, all without making any significant impact on the critics or, for that matter, on the public at large.03
Cabarrus's portrait missed its mark because it recalled the Terror and the disunity of France at a moment when the nation was at war against external enemies and wrestling with internal unrest and political dissension. If Cabarrus had commissioned the portrait in time for the Salon of 1795 (which opened three months after the fall of Robespierre, an almost impossibly short turnaround for a portrait this elaborate), she and Laneuville might have met with a more sympathetic reaction. The disapprobation, however, was not entirely due to political contingencies, just as the condemnation of Cabarrus in the press involved more tiian her or Tallien's putative royalism or Jacobinism. Her portrait was disturbing because it depicted a woman who had seized the slim personal and political opportunities offered to her sex by the Revolution and made the most of them. Ils fordirightness about Cabarrus's centrality to contemporary politics provided an easy target for the generalized anxiety surrounding the increased visibility of women in post-Thermidorean social life and visual representation. Cabarrus's person, clodiing, and political connections were a matter of public discussion; her portrait may have been designed to mitigate criticism, but instead it awoke the specter of Marie-Antoinette, accused of bringing the nation to the brink of ruin through her sexual impulses and political ambitions.
By the fall of 1796, when the Laneuville portrait went on view, almost any political statement, no matter how ambiguous, was likely to make enemies. The Directory government had attempted to maintain a stable executive power and rise above factionalism, at the price of lashing out both at the left and the right. A government defined largely by a shifting parade of enemies could have no stable relation with its pre-Thermidorean past or with the former hero of Therrnidor. It was likewise difficult to sum up clearly and effectively Cabarrus's own complicated political career for a public battered by the seesawing of its government. The TaMen-Cabarnis household, moreover, had its own share of troubles. Tallien' s career was in eclipse. He had been elected to die new lower chamber of deputies, the Conseil de Cinq-Cents, but had never recovered the influence he briefly enjoyed after Thermidor. Cabarrus's affections were wandering as well, a fact that had not escaped public notice. An article in die royalist journal Rapsodies du four in 1796 recounted an anecdote about "la citoyenne T . . ." who, attending a ball in her "Roman costume," discovered diat someone had affixed to her dress a note reading "Respect for National Property" - a dig both at the Republican nationalization of church and private property and at Cabarrus's alleged sexual profligacy/'4 The gossip had some basis in fact; Cabarrus began an affati' with Paul Barras, one of the five directors, just months before die Salon of 1796 opened, making any narrative of innocence and fidelity to Tallien difficult to sustain.
For Theresia Cabarrus, the Laneuville porü'ait was just one element of her ongoing and very public efforts to consolidate her fame and influence. Its failure did little to check her momentum. After her affair with Barras ended, she entered into another relationship, with Gabriel-Julien Ouvrard, a wealthy financier, and bore him four children over the course of five years. In 1802, she obtained a divorce from Tallien, who had completely squandered his political capital and ended up discredited and destitute, dependent on his ex-wife's financial support. In 1805, Gabarras made an improbably good marriage to Francois-Joseph de Caraman, a member of an ancient Belgian family who soon thereafter inherited the tide of prince de Chimay. Tt seems to have been a love match, at least initially, and Cabarrus bore her husband three children. Shordy after her marriage, Cabarrus commemorated this new phase in her life with another spectacular portrait (Fig. 13). This time she chose as her portraitist François Gérard, one of David's most successful students and the most sought-after society portraitist in France. Gerard's likeness of the thirty-one-year-old Cabarrus transforms her into an almost impossibly majestic Junoesque figure. The painting is a standard example of Gerard's full-length portraiture, interchangeable with his other images of the members of Napoleon's extended family or the wives of his generals. The only hint of Cabarrus's unconventional past is her partially bared left breast, which could be interpreted variously as a sign of her charitable nature, her fecundity, or her reputation as a leader of fashion during the wild Directory years of semi transparent dresses.
The Gérard portrait was commissioned at a time when Cabarrus was more interested in repairing her social creel ibiliity than in staking claims to political agency. In 1805, the fluctuating social and political structures that had allowed women more latitude in their self-representation had, under the firm hand of Napoléon, succumbed to a new (but retrograde) social and legal hierarchy. Napoléon knew Cabarrus well; after she divorced, Tal lien, he forbade his wife Joséphine any contact with her former best friend. Napoleon's condemnation was echoed by the court of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. The prince de Chimay was a prominent fixture there, but his wife was not received by the royal family, and she spent the last years of her life becalmed in die tiny town of Chimay.
Laneuville, her portraitist, fared somewhat better under Napoléon. He received both private and official portrait commissions under the Empire, exhibiting work in the Salon until 1817. He also pursued a career as an expert art appraiser and possibly also its a dealer; the catalog of the artist's. posthumous sale reveals that he had amassed a vast collection of old master and contemporary French art.55 His post-Revolutionary output as a portraitist remains almost completely unknown, so it is unclear whether or not he ever attempted another female portrait as ambitious and unconventional as that of Cabarrus.
The 1796 portrait was, in any case, a product of its complex and contradictory moment, conceived by a sitter and an artist who were both deeply engaged with politics. Each had taken advantage of the freedoms offered by the Revolution to create new selves and new career paths. Cabarrus, looking back in 1796 at die short and eventful course of her adult life from the vantage point of "Our Lady of Thermidor," may be excused for thinking that in a society in flux, a gifted and determined woman could claim a position of social and political autonomy. The Revolution was committed to reinventing politics and everyday life; indeed, it insisted that the two were one and the same. This theory of regeneration, in terms of visual imagery, placed portraiture at the center of cultural and civic life - and portraiture was a tool diat both men and women could use. Cabarrus and Laneuville capitalized on portraiture's symbolic resonance, presenting the portrait process itself as a metaphor for active citizenship. The portraitist Cabarrus fixes us with a steady gaze; the profile portrait on the wall takes the place of the easel of the traditional artist's self-portrait. The viewer becomes the self that Cabarrus re-creates on the wall of her prison cell; we are drawn into her vision of herself, seduced and reinvented by her political and artistic skills. In this transaction, the viewer and the self created is, of course, male: in die end, Cabarrus can imagine herself politically only as a woman among men.
Cabarrus's portrait inserts her into the narrative of national events in the only way possible for a woman: by indirection and subversion, with ample reference to older models of femininity and dieir representational conventions tempering Cabarrus's claims to political power. It was a difficult argument to make, as was any argument for female participation in the polity during the Revolution. The portrait offended its contemporary viewers because it recalled the Terror and the disunity of France. But the portrait was also disturbing because it depicted a woman who took the Revolution's promises of liberty and equality seriously and acted on them. Even in portraiture, which provided artists and sitters a means of exploring the novel forms of personhood on offer after 1789, female citizenship ran up against unyield^ ing concepnial barriers.
Cabarrus's portrait may not have been a resounding success at the Salon, but like most portraits, it had a second life in the sitter's home, which, given her political and social status, served as a public space. Its long life, its ideological complexity, and its use of die portrait process as a cipher for political agency demonstrate the ways in which portraiture functioned as a privileged site for the elaboration of new models of selfhood for a new nation. The genre's innovative approach to the problem of individual identity in a representative regime (amply demonstrated in the Cabarrus portrait) both performed crucial ideological functions and established new and long-lasting aesthetic priorities. Cabarrus's likeness is a limit case of the power of Revolutionary portraiture. Laneuville and his sitter took extraordinary risks, and the result of their collaboration exceeded the accepted boundaries of citizenship. The freedoms the portrait took - both literally and figuratively - point not only to die possibilities and limitations of female agency in Revolutionary portraiture and politics but also to the ways in which portraituré after 1789 shouldered the burdens formerly borne by history painting. The fact that these artistic and political liberties were visualized in a prison portrait makes the painting's arguments that much more vivid and haunting.
Funding for research for this essay was provided by Texas Christian University's Research and Creative Activities Fund and an ,Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Thanks are due to Charles Hatfield, Nina Dubin, Jessica May, Heather Mac Donald, Eric Stryker, Amy Buono. Sally-Anne Huxtable, and The Art Bulletins anonymous readers for their careful readings and helpful comments, and io Mary Sheriff and the members of the research seminar on eighteendvcentury European art at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, for their valuable feedback on a talk based on this material. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own.
1. At the Salon of 1789, 38 artists exhibited 110 portraits. In 1791, 103 artists exhibited 252 portraits. Statistics are based on my analysis of die official Salon catalogs.
2. La Gazette Française. Papier-Nouvelles de Tous lesjmm et de Tous ies Pays, 23 vendémiaire year V [October 14» 1796], 3: "Des portraits, des portraits, et puis encore des portraits. Depuis que nous sommes dévenus tous frères, on a fait du sallon une galerie de tableaux de famille."
3. État actuel de Paris, ou le provincial à Paris; ouvrage indispensable à ceux qui veulent connaître & parcourir Paris, sans faire aucune question, 4 vols. (Paris: Chez Watin fils, 1789), vol. I1 125-27. Physionotrace portraits were small-scale engravings produced using a silhouette apparatus and a pantograph. The price for an opera ticket (48 sols, at 20 sols per livre) is noted in Heinrich August Ottokar Reichard, Guide des, voyageurs en Europe, 2 vols. (Weimar: Bureau d'Industrie, 1793), vol. 1, 120.
4. For an overview of the importance of transparency in Revolutionary political culture, see Antoine De Baecque, The Body Politic: Corporeal Metaphor in Revolutionary France, J 770- i800, trans. Charlotte Mandell (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997), 209-46.
5. Maximilien Robespierre, Rapport sur les principes de morale politique qui doivent guider la Convention Nationale dans l'administration intérieure de la République, Jail par Robespierre ait nom du Comité de Salut Public ([Paris]: Convention Nationale, 17 pluviôse year II [February 5, 1794]), 539-67, at 541: "où toutes les âmes s'agrandissent par la communication continuelle des sentiments républicains et par le besoin de mériter l'estime d'un grand peuple.... "
6. Explication des ouvrages de punture, sculpture, architecture, gravures, dessins, modèles, etc exposés dons le grand Salon du Musée Central des Arts (Paris: Imprimerie des Sciences et Arts, year V ). 49-50: "Portrait de la citoyenne Tallien dans un cachot a la Force, ayant datis les mains ses cheveux qui viennent d'etre coupés."
7. Tony Halliday, in his book Facing the Public: Portraiture in the Aftermath of the French Revolution (Manchester, U. K-: Manchester University Press, 1999), approaches the problem of portrait production and use primarily from the point of view of the artist, tracing the ways in which artists constructed then own identities as practitioners of a liberal art. His work convincingly places portraiture at the center of Revolutionary aesthetic discourses but provides only a partial view of the culture of portraiture during the Revolution. Philippe Bordes's Portraiture in Paris around 1800: Cooper Penrose by facques-Louis David (San Diego: Timken Museum of Art, 2003) offers a wider understanding of portrait practice in Paris through the careful analysis of a single portrait. The most recent scholarly study of French portraiture, Tamar Garb's The Painted Face: Portraits of Women in France, iHi4-i9i4 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007), like Halliday's work, is primarily invested in the artist's ambitions and motivations.
8. Jan Goldstein, The Post-Revolutionary Self: Politics and Psyche in France, 1750-1850 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2005), 2. Ewa Lajer-Burcharth gives a compelling account of cultural and artistic manifestations of post-Revolutionary anxiety about the self in Necklines: The Art of Jacques-Louis David after the Terror (New Haven: Yale University Press. 1999).
9. Pastoret was married to Emmanuel de Pastoret. Husband and wife were early supporters of the liberal Revolution, and Emmanuel held several positions in the government between 1789 and 1792. Louise herself was described by a disdainful contemporary as a "gossipmonger of the Revolution maitresse commère de. la Revolution]. ." Ferdinande Bassan, Politique et haute société à l'époque romantique: La famille Pastoret d'après sa correspondance 1788 à 1856) (Paris: Lettres Modernes, 1969), 24.
10. "Mez amis, je suis bien comptant de nous voir en République."
11. Caria Hesse examines the objections to female citizenship and the ways dial women used writing as a means of selfconstitution in The Other Enlightenment: How French Women Became Modern (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001). Hesse's work builds on that of Geneviève Fraisse in Reason's Muse: Sexual Difference and the Birth of Democracy, trans. Jane Marie Todd (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994).
12. The mytiis diat have grown up around Cabarrus's life story - some of which originated with Cabarrus herself - make it difficult to separate fact from fiction; indeed, many of her biographies are more or less fictionalized. The most credible studies of her life are Maurice Ferras, Madame Tallien à Bordeaux pendant ta Terreur: Étude historique el critique (Bordeaux: Delnias, 1933); and Marie-Hélène Bourquin, Monsieur et Madame Tallien (Paris: Librairie Académique Perrin. 1987). Françoise Kermina's biography Madame Tallien 1773-1835 (Paris: Perrin, 2006), although slighdy novelized, also draws heavily on primary sources.
13. Im Chronique Scandaleuse 14 (n.d. ): 2: "c'est votre façon de penser qui m'est chère, c'est votre patriotisme, et cette élévation d'âme qui vous a tout de suite portée à la hauteur de Ia révolution, qui me font raffoler de votre charmant naturel; et puis, ma chère, ce que j'adore en vous, c'est le courage d'avoir eu Mirabeau.'' An earlier number of the same journal (6) featured another dialogue between "Mademoiselle Gaba . . . femme Fonte . . ." and a friend, in which Theresia is accused of covering up an indiscretion by telling her husband she was attending a session of the National Assembly.
14. Bourquin, Monsieur et. Madame Tallien, 102-14.
15. For Tallien's early biography, see ibid., 17-35, 80-114.
16. For an account of die Terror in Bordeaux, and Cabarrus's and Tallien's influence on Its conduct, see Femis, Madame Tallien a Bordeaux, 225-74.
17. Ibid., 165-66. There is some evidence that Cabarrus was imprisoned because of this denunciation, but if that was the case, she was quickly liberated and continued her advocacy.
18. Jean-Philippe-Guy Le Gentil, Mémoires du Comte de Paroy, souvenirs d'un défenseur de la famille royale pendant la Révolution (1789-1797), éd. Etienne Charavay (Paris: E. Pion, 1895), 881-82: "un chevalet avec un tableau commencé, la boîte de couleurs à l'huile, des pinceaux sur une espèce d'escabeau, une table à dessins, portant un petit pupitre avec une miniature, une boîte anglaise, une palelle d'ivoire et des pinceaux, tui secrétaire ouvert rempli de papiers, de mémoires et de pétitions, une bibliothèque dont les livres paraissaient en désordre, comme si on y touchait souvent. . . ."
19. Arsène Houssaye advanced the claim that Cabarrus studied with Lsabey and reproduces the miniature of her children in Notre-Dame de Thermidor: Histoire de Madame Tallien (Paris: H. Pion, 1866), 468. He does not document this claim, but his biography was based on her letters and on conversations with her children. Cabarrus also lent her artistic skills and her influence with the government to Godefroy Engelmann, the pioneer oflithography in France. Cabarrus sent samples of Engelmann's early efforts, including a print after her own work, to a highranking official in a successful effort io promote the new technology. See Léon Lang, Godefroy Engelmann, imprimeur lilhograplie: Les incunables 1814-1817 (Colmar:' Éditions Alsatiá, 1977), 51.
20. Theresia Cabarrus-Fontenay, Discours sur l'éducation, par la Citoyenne Thirèsia Cabarrus-Fontenay, Lu dans la séance tenue au Temple tie la Raison de Bordeaux, le 1er Décadi du mois de Nivôse, jour de la Fête nationale, célébrée à l'occasion de la rejnise de Toulon, par les armes de la République, imprimé d'après la demande des Citoyens réunis dans ce Temple (N.p., D.d. ). A letter by Cabarrus confirms the circumstances of its delivery in Bordeaux; see Ferrus. Madame Tallien à Bordeaux, 194.
21. Theresia Cabarrus-Fontenay, Adresse à la Convention Nationale (Bordeaux: Pinard fils, year H ), reprinted in Ferrus, Madame Tallien à Bardeaux, 363-70: "l'absurde ambition de s'approprier ceux des hommes, ei perdroient ainsi les vertus de leur sexe, sans acquérir celle du vôtre. Mais ne seroit-ce pas aussi un malheur, si. privées au nom de la nature de l'exercice des droits politiques, d'où naissent et les résolutions fortes, ei les combinaisons sociales, elles se croyoient en droit de se regarder comme étrangères à ce qui doit en assurer le maintien, et même à ce qui peut en préparer l'existence. Ah! dans une République, tout sans doute doit être républicain, et nul êu:e doué de la raison ne peut sans honte s'exiler par son voeu de l'honorable emploi de servir la paUie! . . ." (ellipses in the original). See also the Gazette Nationale ou Le Moniteur Universel, 7 floréal year II [April 26, 1 794] , reprinted in Réimpression de l'Ancien Moniteur, vol. 20 (Paris: Bureau Central, 1841), 306-7.
22. Cabarrus-Fontenay, Adresse à la Convention Nationale, 368: "L'usage, si souvent précurseur de vos décrets, a décerné aux femmes le beau nom de citoyennes. Que ce ne soit plus désormais un vain nom dont elles se parent; et qu'elles aussi puissent présenter avec orgueil, ou plutôt avec confiance, les titres véritables de leur civisme!"
23. Joan Wallach Scott's essay on Gouges, " ? Woman Who Has Only Paradoxes to Offer': Olympe de Gouges Claims Rights for Women," in the collection Rebel Daughters: Women and the Bench Revolution, ed. Sara E. Melzer and Leslie W. Rabine (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992). 102-20, provides an incisive overview not only of Gouges's argument but. also of the problem of female citizenship during die Revolution. A version of this essay was incorporated into a larger argument about feminism and "natural" difference in Scott, Only Paradoxes to Offer French Feminists and the Rights of Man (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1996).
24. Hesse, in The Other Enliglitenment (53), supplies a tally of female writers who published between 1789 and 1800; 251 publications by women during this period were political in nature.
25. Ferrus, Madame Tallien à Bordeaux (350-51), furnishes archival evidence of Cabarrus's saltpeter enterprise.
26. Archives Départementales de la Gironde, Registre L. 2170, no. 629, 15 floréal year 2: "taille 5 pieds 2 pouces, visage blanc et joli, cheveux noirs, front bien fait, sourcils clairs, yeux bruns, nez bien faits, bouche petite, menton rond." For this and other documentation on Cabarrus's flight from Bordeaux, see Ferrus, Madame Tallien à Bordeaux, 374-76.
27. Charles de Constant's letters were published in the Nouvelle Revue Retrospective 1 (1895): 49-96, 145-91, the relevant passages are found on 81-87, 175-76.
28. Cabarrus describes her role post-Thermidor in later letters, from 1824 and 1826, cited in Houssaye. Notre-Dame de Thermidor, 8-11, and quoted on 13: "c'est un peu par ma petite main que la guillotine a été renversée."
29. The public visibility of the merveilleuses and their influence on politics and aesthetics are discussed in Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby's "Nudity à la grecque in 1799," Art. Bulletin 80, no. 2 (June 1998): 311-35; Lajer-Burcharth, Necklines, particularly chap. 4, on David's portrait of Julie Récam ier; and Au temps des merveilleuses: La société parisienne sous le Directoire et le Consulat, exh. cat. (Paris: Musée Carnavalet, 2005). Aileen Ribeiro discusses the innovations in dress introduced by Cabarrus and her peers in Fashion in the French Revolution (New York: Holmes and Meier, 1988), 124-35.
30. l.'Abrêviaieur Universel 109 (19 nivose year 3 [January 8, 1795]): 434: "Un luxe énorme, les concerts, le chanteur Carat Sc Ia belle citoyenne Cabanis, femme Tallien, voilà ce qui occupe ici, beaucoup plus que les subsistances & nos quatorze armées ----- Árrive-t-elle? on applaudit avec transport, comme si c'étoit sauver la république française que d'avoir une figure à la romaine, ou à l'espagnole, une superbe peau, de beaux yeux, une démarche noble, un sourire où l'amabilité tempère la protection, un costume à la grecque & les bras nuds. Quelques journaux ont multiplié les copies littérales du même portrait de Theresia Cabanis, portrait en plusieurs colonnes, où l'on volt successivement Orphée, Eurydice, Duhera, Cambon, la nouvelle Antoinette des uns, la déesse des autres....Quel goût! Que d'espritl & quelles moeurs républicaines!"
31. Among the early attackers of Cabarrus from the left was Gracchus Babeuf, who in 1 794 referred to her and other women in her circle as new manifestations of Mme de Pompadour and Mme du Barry, badi mistresses of Louis XV, and Marie-Antoinette, who had become "lady legislators [.législatrices]"', cited in Kermina, Madame Tallien, 161-62.
32. The proceedings of the meeting were reported in Le Messager du Soir, Gazette Générale de l'Europe 747 (19 fructidor vear 2 [September 5, 1794]): 2-3; and 748 (20 fructidor year 2 [September 6, 1794]): 2-3. This gave the first published account of Cabarrus's captivity.
33. Gazette Nationale ou Le Moniteur Universel (13 nivose year IJI [January 2, 1795]), reprinted in Réimpression de l'Ancien Moniteur, vol. 23 (1842), 101-2.
34. Vedette ou Gazette du four, 13 nivose year 3 [January 2, 1795], 2-3.
35. Catalogue de tableaux anciens et modernes du cabinet de feu M. Laneuville (Paris: A. Coniam, 1826), 34. Laneuville's career still awaits serious study; my account here, slender as it is, oSers the most detailed and up-to-date consideration of his work.
36. Laneuville's Salon entry included a portrait of Louis Legendre, a deputy who participated in the Thermidorean coup (location unknown); according to the Salon livret (exhibition catalog), he was depicted in the act of presiding over the trial of jean-Baptiste Carrier, a notorious Jacobin who had carried out a massacre of suspected counterrevolutionaries in Nantes that came to symbolize the excesses of the Terror. The two other politicians whose portraits were exhibited in 1795 were anti-Robespierre: Jules-François Paré (Musée Carnavalet, Paris), a former minister of the interior and a supporter of Georges Danton; and Jean Pelet, known as Pelet de la Lozère (location unknown), who like Tallien had participated in die Thermidor coup. The location of TaIlien's. portrait is also unknown.
37. While there is no direct documentary evidence surrounding the commission, the fact that the portrait remains in the sitter's family to this day indicates diat it was indeed a paid commission. Portraitists sometimes volunteered to paint famous sitters at their own expense, but those portraits remained in the artists' studios as advertisements for dieir skills. This was the case with a number of Laneuville's other portraits, and they are clearly indicated "m the catalog of his posthumous sale, Catalogue de tableaux . . . de, feu M. Laneuville,
38. Both portraits were last documented in private collections. The work by Filleul was published in the catalog Exposition retrospective de portraits de femme sous les trois républiques (Paris: Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, 1909); and a detail of the Bou liar can be found in Emmanuel Beri. Le 9 Thermidor (Paris: Hachette, 1965), 107.
39. André Amar, in Archives parlementaires de 1 787 à I860: Recueil complet des débats législatifs et politiques des Chambres françaises (Paris: P. Dupont, 1867-1990), vol. 78, 50, quoted in William H. SewelIJr., "Le Citoyen/la Citoyenne: Activity, Passivity, and die Revolutionary Coucept of Citizenship," in The French Revolution and the Creation of Modern Political Culture, vol, 2, The Political Culture of the French Revolution, ed. CoUn Lucas (Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1988), 105-23, at 118: "elles peuvent éclairer leurs époux, leur communiquer des réflexions précieuses, fruit du calme d'une vie sédentaire, employer à fortifier en eux l'amour de la patrie par tout ce que l'amour privé leur donne d'empire; et l'homme, éclairé par des discussions familières et paisibles au milieu de son ménage, rapportera dans la société les idées utiles qui lui aura données une femme honnête."
40. Both female political participation and its condemnation are reflected in visual representation; studies devoted to this material include Madelyn Gurwirdi, The Twilight of the Goddesses: Women and Representation in the French Revolutionary Era (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1992); Lynn Hunt, "The Imagery of Radicalism," in Politics, Culture, and Class in the French Revolution (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984). 87-119; and Joan Landes, Visualizing the Nation: Gender, Representation, and Revolution in Eighteenth-Century France (Ilhaca. N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2001).
41. La Révolution française et l'Europe, vol. 2, L'événement révolutionnaire (Paris: Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 1989), 616-18, provides a brief discussion and some examples of prison-related works, including a rare color illustration of Suvée's portrait of Chénier, now in a private collection. Suvée's other sitters were die Trudaine brothers, Charles-Louis and Charles-Michel (commissioner of David's 1786 Death of Socrates), and Charles-Louis's brother-in-law. In the livret entry, each of Suvée's portraits is accompanied by an affecting description of the sitter's last moments, evidently aimed at eliciting viewers' empathy. Explication des ouvrages de peinture, sculpture, architecture, gravures, dessins, modèles, etc, exposés dans le Grand Sallon du .Museum au Louvre (Paris: Hérissant* year 4 ). 57-58.
42. Lajer-Burcharth, Necklines, 88-1 18. I discuss die deputy portraits of the early Revolution in Amy Freund. "The legislative Body: Print Portraits of (he National Assembly, 1789-1791," Eighteenth-Century Studies 41. no. 3 (Spring 2008): 337-58.
43. Olivier Blanc, La dernière lettre: Prisons et condamnés Oe ta Révolution 1793-1794 (Paris: Robert Laffont, 1984).
44. The pendant painting, a bust portrait of Cange. is in the collection of the Musée de la Révolution Française, Vizille.
45. André Chenier, "La jeune captive," Décade Philosophique, 20 nivôse year Ill, reprinted in Chénier, Oeuvres complètes, éd. Gérard Walter Paris: Gallimard, 1950). 185-86: " ? morti Tu peux attendre; éloigne, éloigne-toi; / Va consoler les coeurs que la honte, l'effroi, / Le pâle désespoir dévore. / Pour moi Paies encore a des asiles verts, / Les Amours des baisers, les Muses des concerts. / Je ne veux point mourir encore.' "
46. David's hastily sketched poitrail of Marie-Antoinette on the way to the guillotine (Musée du Louvre, Paris) records the humiliation diat this practice visited on prisoners, particularly women.
47. Blanc, Im dernibe lettre, 156.
48. See Sewell, "Le Citoyen/la Citoyenne," 1 15.
49. [Villiers and Capell] . Critique du Salon, oit les tableaux en vaudevilles 2 (N.p., n.d.), in Coliection de pieces sur les beaux-arts (i673-1808) (Paris: A. Picard. 1881), known as the Collection Deloynes. Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, no. 488: "Ce tableau, qui n'a resté que peu de jours en exposition, rappelait ce tems affreux où la France n'était composée que de bourreaux et de victimes, et fesait rentier d'horreur les âmes sensibles dont les regards osaient se fixer sur cette peinture."
50. Ibid.: "La scène était dans la prison / De la malheureuse Lamfialle; / Et Cabarus [sic], dont les desseins / Ne soni pas d'enhardir le crime, / Tenait, disait-on, dans ses mains / Les cheveux de cette victime." In the original, a footnote appears at the end of the fourth line.
51. Im Hriviéres àe Juvenal, ou Satire sur les tableaux exposes au Louvre l'an V (Paris, 1796), 11. Collection Deloynes. no. 490.
52. L'Ami- des Arts: Journal de la Satiété Philotechnique, 26 brumaire [November 15, 1796], 443.
53. The painting has never undergone technical examination, and any changes made by Laneuville after it was hung in the Salon are not apparent to the naked eye. I have found no trace of any contemporary accounts of the portrait outside the Salon criticism. The only other mention of the painting beyond the three cited occlus in the Feuille du four, no. 184 (27 vendémiaire [October 18, 1796]): 2-3, which merely mentions the beauty' of the sitter and her "beneficence [bienfaisance]."
54. Rapsodies du four, no. 13 (n.d. ), quoted in Bourquin, Monsieur et Madame Tallien, 310, who dates this issue to July 24. 1796.
55. Catalogue de tabkaux. . . de feu M. Laneuville.
Amy Freund is an assistant professor of ari history at Texas Christian University. She has recently completed a book manuscript entitled "Portraiture and Politics in Revolutionary France, 1789-1804." Her work has appeared in Eighteenth-Century Studies and Interior Portraiture and Masculine Identity in France, 17891914 (Ashgate, 2011) [School of Art, Texas Christian University, TCU Box 298000, Fort Worth, Tex., 76129, a. email@example.com.