The great political figures of the Imperial Menagerie

The great political figures of the Imperial Menagerie

  • The imperial menagerie, portrait-charge n ° 13 of Persigny, "the monkey".

    HADOL, known as WHITE Paul (1835 - 1875)

  • The imperial menagerie, portrait-charge n ° 7 of Rouher, "the parrot".

    HADOL, known as WHITE Paul (1835 - 1875)

  • The imperial menagerie, portrait-charge n ° 9 of Emile Ollivier, "the serpent".

    HADOL, known as WHITE Paul (1835 - 1875)

To close

Title: The imperial menagerie, portrait-charge n ° 13 of Persigny, "the monkey".

Author : HADOL, known as WHITE Paul (1835 - 1875)

Creation date : 1870

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Colored lithograph

Storage location: National Museum of the Château de Compiègne website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - G. Blot

Picture reference: 00-029998

The imperial menagerie, portrait-charge n ° 13 of Persigny, "the monkey".

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - G. Blot

To close

Title: The imperial menagerie, portrait-charge n ° 7 of Rouher, "the parrot".

Author : HADOL, known as WHITE Paul (1835 - 1875)

Creation date : 1870

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Colored lithograph

Storage location: National Museum of the Château de Compiègne website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - G. Blot

Picture reference: 00-028968

The imperial menagerie, portrait-charge n ° 7 of Rouher, "the parrot".

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - G. Blot

To close

Title: The imperial menagerie, portrait-charge n ° 9 of Emile Ollivier, "the serpent".

Author : HADOL, known as WHITE Paul (1835 - 1875)

Creation date : 1870

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Colored lithograph

Storage location: National Museum of the Château de Compiègne website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - G. Blot

Picture reference: 00-028964

The imperial menagerie, portrait-charge n ° 9 of Emile Ollivier, "the serpent".

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - G. Blot

Publication date: May 2006

Historical context

With the help of Victor Fialin de Persigny (1808-1872), Eugène Rouher (1814-1884) and Jules Baroche (1802-1870), Napoleon III set up an authoritarian regime: the administration was docile, the closely monitored press, and rigorously supervised elections. In 1859, the majority of public opinion approved of his action and was grateful to him for the prosperity brought to the country and its military successes (Crimean War and War in Italy).

But from 1860, the Italian policy of Napoleon III kept the Catholics away from him. Accused of having dragged France into defeat, the imperial regime then sparked a protest movement of unparalleled magnitude, and its great figures made the heyday of satirical newspapers.

Image Analysis

Eminent personalities on the government chessboard of the Second Empire, the Duke of Persigny, Eugène Rouher and Émile Ollivier occupy a privileged place in The Imperial Menagerie imagined by Paul Hadol.

The artist has represented Victor Fialin de Persigny as a hairy monkey with a pink, skinned hindquarters. He is seated on the imperial crown which acts as a seat. He has his left hand on his hip and holds his tail in his right hand. The mustache with its tapered ends gives it a certain resemblance to the emperor, his friend and his master.

Eugène Rouher, meanwhile, has the appearance of a parrot perched on a perch to which he is kept attached by a chain. He is holding a piece in his right paw that we do not know if he is putting it on or if he took it from the labeled bag BUDGET placed on the crossbar. The other end of the perch supports a glass of wormwood, for, to use a quaint expression of the time, drinking a glass of wormwood was also called "choking a parrot." Finally, "baseness" and "duplicity" are the prerogative of Émile Ollivier, whose large head with myopic eyes and bifid tongue surmounts the body of a snake. He holds in his rings a voluminous ministerial portfolio.

Interpretation

These three personalities sketched without kindness by Paul Hadol were undoubtedly leading figures of the imperial regime.

Coming from a family of petty nobility of the Ancien Régime, Victor Fialin de Persigny very early abandoned his legitimist ideas to embrace the Bonapartist faith of which he became the propagandist as well as the executor: companion of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte in the Strasbourg plots. and from Boulogne, he actively participated in the coup d'état of December 2, 1851. Minister of the Interior in 1852, he prepared for the reestablishment of the Empire by laying the foundations for an authoritarian regime. The oldest, most faithful and most disinterested friend of the prince-president, he intended to do everything possible to restore the imperial dignity: "I will make him emperor in spite of himself." I will muffle him with such cries of "Long live the Emperor" that he will have to surrender. So it was with undisguised enthusiasm that Persigny proclaimed the Empire on the Place de la Concorde, in front of the people and the National Guard, on December 2, 1852.

A former supporter of the Guizot government under the reign of Louis-Philippe, Eugène Rouher was elected to the Constituent Assembly in 1848, opportunely supporting the new republic. He was one of the main architects of the authoritarian regime that engendered the coup d'etat of December 2, 1851, without having participated in it. Fundamentally conservative, he disapproved of the liberal orientation given to the Empire after 1860. He nonetheless remained one of the most important figures of the regime, which led Émile Ollivier to qualify him, in a speech that has remained famous, of "vice-emperor", and the satirists to speak of "rouhernement".

As for Émile Ollivier, his Republican convictions kept him out of the political arena in the early years of the Second Empire. He was, however, elected deputy for the Seine in 1857 and, encouraged by the Duke of Morny, set about moving the regime towards parliamentarism. He met the Emperor in 1865, thereby recognizing the Bonaparte dynasty but losing the support of his Republican friends. The 1869 elections produced a majority in favor of a liberal Constitution, and Napoleon III instructed Émile Ollivier to form a government. Despite the success of the plebiscite of May 8, 1870, France's first defeats against Prussia provided the House with the opportunity to overthrow him on August 9, 1870. Émile Ollivier's political career did not survive the sinking of the Empire.

  • caricature
  • imperial menagerie
  • Second Empire
  • Napoleon III

Bibliography

Annie DUPRAT, History of France through caricature, Paris, Larousse, 1999.Jacques LETHERE, Caricature and the press under the Third Republic, Paris, Armand Colin, coll. "Kiosk", 1961 Robert SCHNERB, Rouher and the Second Empire, Paris, Armand Colin, 1949 Jean TULARD (ed.), Dictionary of the Second Empire, Paris, Fayard, 1995. Benoît YVERT, Dictionary of Ministers (1789-1989), Paris, Perrin, 1990. “Caricature, two centuries of salutary derision”, in Historia n ° 651, Paris, March 2001.Insights into Émile Ollivier, studies compiled by Anne Troisier de Diaz, Paris, Publications de la Sorbonne, 1985.

To cite this article

Alain GALOIN, "The great political figures of the Imperial Menagerie"


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