Thomas Couture (Senlis 1815 – 1879 Villiers-le-Bel): The Tribune
Pen and black ink on graphite
135 x 210 mm, 5¼x 8¼inch.
Dry stamp TC (not in the Lugt);
Louis-Antoine and Véronique Prat collection (L.3617)
Our drawing is preparatory for the tribune represented in the middle ground of the painting L’Enrôlement des volontaires de 1792 executed by Couture about 1850. Commissioned by the government of the Second Republic to decorate the hall of the National Assembly, the painting was considered too demagogic by the government of the Second Empire who refused it. Unfinished, the painting illustrates the enlistment of volunteers on the 12 July 1792 to fight against Austria following the proclamation « la Patrie en Danger – Homeland in Danger». Couture illustrated the enthusiasm of the French people unified for the same cause. In the present drawing, Couture used graphite and pen with black ink to place his figures and composition with simplicity and rapidity. The billowing flag highlights the dramatic nature of the event, while the determined poses of the signatories, and the raised hands of the other volunteers,demonstrate the enthusiasm of the French on that day.