Thursday, July 18, 2013

A New French Stamp of Marianne

Marianne, the symbol of the French Republic, has appeared in many guises since the Revolution.  Perhaps the most often seen representation in Eugene Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People, featuring a slightly zaftig, bare-breasted maiden wearing a Phyrigan cap and carrying the tricoleur!

In recent times, Marianne has been modified, especially in the form of busts of this mythical figure placed in public buildings.  Let's face it: she changed with the tastes of the time.  For a while, Brigitte Bardot was the model for Marianne*; later Catherine Denevue and Laetitia Casta and others.  All did splendidly.

In a postage stamp publicly unveiled by President Xavier Hollande and issued recently, the newest reincarnation of Marianne was a composite figure, in which Ukrainian FEMEN leader Inna Shevchenko was the primary source of the image (according to the artist)!  FEMEN had developed an effective means of gaining attention by protesting various things while topless, often using guerilla methods and managing to have conflicts with legal authorities.

Predictably, this choice resulted in controversy.  Some of the right wing wants to boycott the stamp, while criticism was levied on having a non-Frenchwoman as the model, even though France granted her asylum.

The French know how to get worked up!

A FEMEN member protesting in Paris

FEMEN member chopping down a cross in Kiev

The classic version by Delacroix:
one of the most dramatic works of art ever!

So what can be said?  Will this version of Marianne take hold, even if not bare-breasted, unlike the frequent representation?  It's ironical, as the French do not get as in an uproar over topless women, unlike Americans.  Also, she seems more winsome rather than resolute.  And, darn it, she lacks the crown of red, white, and blue flowers so often worn by FEMEN members, even though those are France's national colors!

Maybe we could take a page from the French on this, and find some modern incarnation of Lady Liberty.  But which actress or popular singer do you think should fill the part?  Any suggestions?

*Some of the Brigette Bardot Marianne busts were quite explicit!


Duckbutt said...

You practically gave a cue to Google the bust images. Indeed!

Britney Spears as Lady Liberty?

MarkD60 said...

I'm trying to think of a comparison... What revolutionary, in the USA, could be put on a stamp?

TexWisGirl said...

the latest stamp makes her look like a disney princess.

Big Sky Heidi said...

The image on the same is insipid and unauthentic. Just like FEMEN's protests. For whatever cause they may have, the primary message is Don't I have a great pair of tits?"

Anemone said...

TexWisGirl, you are so on target!

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

Can countries use postage stamps depicting nudes?

Mike said...

I haven't visited the FEMEN websites in awhile. Thanks for the reminder.

Grand Crapaud said...

Jennifer Aniston for Lady Liberty!

Hell Hound said...

Postal employees who don't like the stamp can cancel the stamp many times!

Bilbo said...

A wonderful post, in which you have made a clean breast of things. Congratulations on your wonderfully clever pun that equates French president Francois Hollande and Xaviera Hollander, "The Happy Hooker." Classic!

Cloudia said...

The public would probably choose Angelina or Kardashian!