Art Work of the Week for June 7, 2009


Pierre-Ambrose Richebourg (French, 1810-1893)
Barricades of the Commune, April 1871, at the Corner of the Place Hotel de Ville and Rue de Rivoli, 1871
Albumen silver print; 4 3/16 x 3 15/16 in. (10.6 x 10 cm)

Everyone remembers the French Revolution, but few remember the Paris Commune. For two months in 1871 (March 26-May28), the city of Paris took hold of the French Government. It was another bloody and few months in the city of lights. This image of the barricades is haunting. In the 1870s, a camera’s aperture couldn’t clearly capture moving objects, so here the human forms appear as ghosts, apparitions. Indeed, Paris was a city teeming with specters of revolutions past and this photograph recalls the city’s past as well as documenting its present.


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