Artist: Tristan Eaton
Title: The October March
Size: 24 x42 Inches
Medium: Embossed Giclee Anaglyphic 3D on Moab Entranda 290gsm Cotton Rag
Edition: of 150
Notes: In 1789, an angry mob of nearly 7,000 working women marched in the rain from Paris to Versailles in what was to be a seminal point in the French Revolution. The Revolution had begun two months earlier, but neither the Storming of the Bastille, the “Great Fear”, the August Decrees or the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen” had thus far managed to topple France’s seemingly intrinsic Ancien Régime. But the women who set out to Versailles to demand bread were about to change all that, and the very course of modern history.
By the time the women reached Versailles, their rage was focussed almost solely on Marie Antoinette – whose misattributed response to the plight of the breadless and starving peasants, “let them eat cake”, was nevertheless a wholly accurate indication of her cluelessness. The women assembled in the palace courtyard and demanded to see the Queen. The women thenceforth demanded that King Louis XVI distribute the bread that the palace had hoarded, sanction the August Decrees and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, and accompany them back to Paris to see for himself the plight of his subjects. The King had no choice but to agree to the terms. The next day, Louis and Marie Antoinette became prisoners of the Third Estate, or the “common people”, until their respective executions in 1791.
The Women’s March brought to an end the great monarchy of Versailles. But, of even greater significance, it forever transformed the role of women in revolution and what political gains they could expect for themselves. What immediately followed these events amounted to nothing less than a sub-revolution for the women of France. In the wake of their extraordinary success, they quickly began to organise – and just one month after the March on Versailles, they would present to the new National Assembly a groundbreaking demand for gender equality.