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recto: The Barricade

verso: The Execution of Maximilian

Artist: Édouard Manet
(Paris, 1832 – Paris, 1883)

Date: late 1860s
Medium: recto: silverpoint, black ink, watercolour, gouache on paper;
verso: black chalk
Dimensions: 462 × 325 mm
Classification: drawing
Inventory Number: 1935-2734
Department: Prints and Drawings

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recto: The Barricade

On this watercolour from 1871, and on the related lithograph, Manet commemorated a tragic event of the Paris Commune: the execution of the communards on the street. For this composition he made use of the landscape-format lithograph he made three years earlier depicting the execution of Emperor Maximilian in Mexico. When he decided that this drawing should be portrait-format, he added a strip to the top of the original sheet. With this work Manet expressed scathing political criticism.