Contributor: Helene Grøn
Location: Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris
Description: Amid commotion, two hands meet in the handing over of a pamphlet. One belongs to playwright and social reformer Olympe de Gouges (1748-1793), the other to La Reine, the queen Marie-Antoinette (1755-1793). The title of the engraving is given variously as Louis xvi à son peuple (Louis XVI to his people) and ‘Olympe de Gouges remettant sa Déclaration des droits de la femme et de la citoyenne à Marie-Antoinette’ (Olympe de Gouges delivering her Rights of Woman to Marie-Antoinette). One title focuses on the king, reclining somewhat nonchalantly a carriage drawn by a ‘regal cock and a docile ewe’ (Cole 2011, 47), where the other places the women centre stage. De Gouges’ Déclaration is written in response to the French Assembly’s 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man. While its main aim is to make women equal citizens, de Gouges also tackles the question of love more directly by opposing religious marriage and calling the institution ‘the tomb of trust and love’ (2012, 254). The second title underscores that for de Gouges, there is little separation of the public and the private spheres when ‘the publicly protected rights of women reach into the household and the bedroom’ (Cole 2011, 141).