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Cheers, MK. If you're here, we suspect that you love Paris and France as much as we do. Consequently, the great attention caricaturists gave to the Vienna Congress appears to be quite exceptional. A quick glance shows that the congresses of Aix-la-Chapelle , Troppau , Laibach and Verona each feature in one print at most.
View all notes It is only in the latter half of the century that the number of caricatures on diplomatic conferences would increase, when they became the subject of cartoons included in satirical magazines and, increasingly also, in major political newspapers. See the discussion on the use of this term in: Moores, Representations of France , 1—2. View all notes Granted that there is not really a tradition of portraying diplomatic assemblies in caricature, some persistent features may be identified.
First of all — and this will hardly come as a surprise — the centrepiece in these images is almost always a table, around which some distinguished-looking gentlemen, crowned rulers or their plenipotentiaries, are engaged in negotiating or are even in open strife. On this table is the object of their attention, usually a map, upon which they lay their grasping hands or from which they are brutally carving out pieces with knives or swords.
Quite often this activity is represented symbolically as the cutting of a cake.
View all notes It should therefore be clear that in satirical imagery on diplomatic assemblies the gentlemen around the conference tables seldom behave like gentlemen. And, as we shall see, in the caricatures on the Congress of Vienna it is not any different. The Vienna Congress assembled in the heyday of political caricature. All over Europe, the conclusive confrontation of the years —15 between Napoleon and the Allies became a major subject of graphic satire, all the more so as the grip of French censorship — in France itself, but also in the countries annexed, occupied or otherwise controlled — rapidly loosened and eventually disappeared.
These satires were not only large in number, but also of high quality. Through the years, these developments in the field of printed satire have received much attention in historiography, first and foremost in Britain. Since A. In recent decades, the anti-Napoleon satires have mostly been explored in richly illustrated exhibition catalogues headed by some introductory essays.
Another important general study is: Donald, Age of Caricature View all notes. Of a more general nature, and not limited to German caricature, are the exhibition catalogues: Mathis, Napoleon I. Astonishingly, these topics do not include the Congress of Vienna, for all that it was one of the major international events in these eventful years. There are only very few exceptions to this conclusion: De Waresquiel Talleyrand , —10 devotes attention to four caricatures featuring Talleyrand at the Vienna Congress. Lentz Nouvelle histoire , 74 and Vick Congress of Vienna , 84 briefly mention some caricatures.
View all notes This is the more surprising because, having already ascertained that internationally the number of pictorial satires on diplomatic conferences in general before the middle of the nineteenth century is rather modest, the largest part of them nonetheless feature the deliberations in the Austrian capital.
And — as we will see — this relative abundance has everything to do with the partial overlap between the Congress caricatures and the anti- Napoleon satires.
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The Vienna assembly is a fascinating political event, which, particularly in its satirical representation, is worth more focused scholarly attention. Yet, this article not only finds its originality in the subject matter, but also in the way it engages it. For a political historian with a prosopographical background, it is self-evident that valid conclusions can only be drawn when all satirical prints featuring the Congress are surveyed. In this methodological aspiration the article pretends to be innovative as too often research on topical caricatures concentrates on case studies and thereby fails to escape the odium of arbitrariness.
Furthermore, apart from this systematic rigour, the article might also claim originality for its international comparative scope, since students of graphic satire tend to confine their research to only one country. Preliminary to establishing an all-inclusive corpus of political caricature on the deliberations in Vienna, I formulated a general definition that covers both content and style. It reads as follows: a political caricature is a pictorial representation commenting on a political event or situation in a satirical, though not necessarily humorous, way.
Its distinctive features are simplification and incongruity, distortion and exaggeration, most specifically of the persons portrayed, as well as the use of various symbols and metaphors to visualise complex political realities for a specific audience. Lucie-Smith, Art of Caricature , 7—19; cf. Moores, Representations of France , 2—3.
On the basis of this general definition, I specified six criteria to select the satirical imagery on the Congress of Vienna. First of all, 1 the caricatures, self-evidently, have to depict this diplomatic assembly as a major or minor subject, and 2 have to represent in this respect a political point of view.
This led me to discard the many satires in which the Great Powers, without any direct relation to the Viennese context, side with the French king Louis XVIII to confront Napoleon after his return from Elba, or, in a more general way, mount a collective defence against the recidivist disturber of peace and security in Europe. View all notes Selection on this criterion made me reject several prints traditionally associated with the negotiations in Vienna, but actually depicting other events. Quite wrongly though, as it actually is a satire on the municipal councils in post-Congress Germany cf.
Drugulin, Historischer Bilderatlas, ; cf. Furthermore, this print has to be dated long after the Congress was dissolved. The picture on the wall, next to the window, shows a giant Napoleon on Saint Helena.
soilstones.com/wp-content/2020-08-04/782.php On this island, recognisable by its characteristic dual hills, the former Emperor was imprisoned from 15 October until his death on 5 May View all notes In this context 3 , the chronological demarcation matters, as all the selected caricatures had to be contemporary: they had to be published between November and June , being the months the Vienna Congress assembled.
Not included for this reason was, for instance, the anonymous German caricature Soll er los gelassen werden? July [BNF, Hennin ]. View all notes On the other hand 4 , the national origins of the graphic satires were of no relevance. See above note 4. View all notes Furthermore 5 , it is obvious that all selected images had to be genuine caricatures, that is to say, that they have to portray persons who have been caricatured. View all notes Consequently, allegories were left out.
Finally, 6 the caricatures necessarily had to be prints i. Extensive surveys in printed catalogues and online image repositories of public collections in various countries were conducted with multiple search terms.
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General search terms used relate to the genre e. These key words were applied in multiple combinations, in English, French and German.
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Queries on the name of individual artists could not be made, as they were not known in advance. View all notes Thus, a corpus was established of exactly 20 political caricatures representing the Congress of Vienna which comply with the aforementioned selection criteria. View all notes The 20 prints thus traced are listed in the Appendix, which provides not only factual information, but also their URL to access them directly in the four image databases just mentioned. The numbers in square brackets, added to the titles of the caricatures mentioned in the text, refer to their numbers in the Appendix.
Although the defined corpus of graphic satire claims to be comprehensive, it is impossible to say with certainty whether this goal was actually achieved. For one can never know what remains hidden in public archives and libraries or in private collections.