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End of the Vendôme Column 1871

by JackDesBwa 2021-05-16 07:01

Exactly 150 years ago, on 1871-05-16 during the Paris Commune episode, the Vendôme Column erected by Napoléon was taken down.

« The Paris Commune considers that the imperial column of the Place Vendôme is a monument of barbarism, a symbol of brute force and false glory, an affirmation of militarism, a permanent insult of the victors to the vanquished, a perpetual attack on one of the three great principles of the Republic, the fraternity » [of course this is translated from original text in French, which introduced the order of destruction]

The regime of the Paris Commune lasted 72 days (this event took place a few days before the final repression and massacres of the bloody week), and the Colomn was rebuilt two years later which took two additional years.

Here, we see two stereoscopic photographs taken after the event. They are in the public domain and I restored them manually (alignment, cropping, dust removal, image reconstruction, etc.).

I found them because of the national discussions about the anniversary of this period of history, during which I realized that stereoscopic photography was invented and known in Paris at this time. By curiosity, I searched for some views. Unfortunately, quite few of the photographs about the event that I found were stereoscopic. Among them, these two illustrate a particular event, but others could be interesting to restore or look at too.

On the left is the fallen Column guarded by the soldiers. It comes from the Carnavalet museum about the history of Paris (https://www.parismuseescollections.paris.fr/fr/musee-carnavalet/oeuvres/la-colonne-vendome-au-sol-apres-avoir-ete-abattue-par-les-communards-le-16). On the stereoscopic card, the photo is mentioned to be taken by G.C. (only initials are present). At small scale, the original is easy to preview, but at larger scale the small rivalries caused by dust and scratches are annoying. Counterintuitively it was worst when larger bits were removed because the comfort of cleaned zones made the other rivalries more noticeable, so that I had to clean more than I expected.

On the right is a scene of "Le Sabbat rouge" series by Jules Raudnitz named "Saturnales de la place Vendôme". It is a French tissue, so that it has a colored version when backlit, which I tried to reconstitute inspired by the somewhat low resolution pictures of it that I found on the Internet. The image comes from the scan available on Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jules_Raudnitz_Saturnales_de_la_place_Vendôme_Le_Sabbat_rouge_1871.jpg). The scene was composited with sculpted elements and flat painted planes. The characters are depicted as monsters, which is the general idea in the series about the period, either because the author had bad opinion about them or to sell the cards to rich aristocrats who had an aversion to this popular insurrection.

-- 2021-05, scans & computer work

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