August 10, 1792 - From constitutional monarchy to the Republic

August 10, 1792 - From constitutional monarchy to the Republic

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Title: August 10, 1792.

Author : GERARD, Baron François (1770 - 1837)

Creation date : 1794

Date shown: August 10, 1792

Dimensions: Height 67 - Width 92

Technique and other indications: Pen drawing with gouache highlights.

Storage location: Louvre Museum (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - J.-G. Berizzisite web

Picture reference: 01-015977 / INV26713

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - J.-G. Berizzi

Publication date: August 2014

Historical context

When the States General met on May 5, 1789, Louis XVI still had a great deal of trust and popularity among his subjects. The king's flight and his arrest in Varennes on June 20, 1791 prompted the Constituent Assembly to precipitate the establishment of a constitutional monarchy.

On October 1, 1791, the Constituent Assembly gave way to the Legislative Assembly. Louis XVI was then convinced that only foreign intervention could enable him to restore absolutism. On April 20, 1792, the Legislative Assembly declared war on Austria at the proposal of the king, who played the worst policy. On July 11, the Assembly declared the homeland in danger. On July 25, Brunswick's manifesto threatens the capital with destruction "if the slightest violence, the slightest outrage, is done to Their Majesties, the King, the Queen and the Royal Family". This Austro-Prussian declaration excited the fury and the republican aspirations of the revolutionaries.

On August 10, 1792, forty-seven of the forty-eight Parisian sections, swelled by the Breton and Marseille federates, besieged the Tuileries Palace, forcing the royal family to withdraw and place themselves under the protection of the Legislative Assembly. Less than two years later, in the context of a reinforced Terror, the Committee of Public Safety felt the need to legitimize revolutionary events and organized the Year II Competition, a highlight of the arts policy under the Revolution, to illustrate the glorious pages of the young republic.

Image Analysis

A pupil of Jacques Louis David (1748-1825), François Pascal Simon Gérard (1770-1837) entered the Year II Competition, established in 1794 by the Convention. This competition calls on "all artists of the Republic to represent the most glorious eras of the French Republic as they wish on the canvas". Gérard wins the competition with this preparatory drawing for a painting which was to be titled "The French People asking for the removal of the tyrant on August 10" but will never be completed.

After the massacre of the Swiss and the capture of the Tuileries Palace, the insurgents invaded the hall of the Manège des Tuileries, where the Legislative Assembly sits. They hold up protest banners with revolutionary slogans: "Homeland / Equality / Freedom" and "No more king". The lyrical fury of this crowd, depicted in the left part of the drawing, contrasts with the overwhelm of the members of the Bureau of the Assembly gathered on a platform to the right. Above them, seated at a table on which is placed a bell, the Girondin Pierre Victurnien Vergniaud (1753-1793) chairs the session. Behind him, to his right, appears the royal family, taking refuge in the logographer's box, which a row of bars isolates from the room. Thus one conforms, even artificially, to the Constitution of 1791 according to which the king cannot attend the deliberations of the Legislative Assembly. At the bottom of the platform, the artist has depicted several boxes containing the queen's jewelry and various goods seized from the Tuileries Palace. Placed at the center of the composition, they highlight the corruption of the monarchical regime and divide the pictorial space between opponents and supporters of royalty.


The days of June 20 (oath of the Jeu de Paume) and August 4, 1789 (abolition of privileges) marked the end of the Old Political and Social Regime. August 10, 1792 marks the beginning of the Second Revolution, a popular revolution organized and led by the Insurrectionary Commune of Paris and the Parisian sections. It is directed against the king, but also against a bourgeois Legislative Assembly, liberal and mostly favorable to the constitutional monarchy. Under popular pressure, the Assembly unanimously voted to convene a National Convention, the dismissal of the leafy ministers and the suspension of the king, but not his deposition. It sets up a provisional Executive Council of six ministers, responsible for ensuring the continuity of government: Monge and Lebrun-Tondu rub shoulders with Roland, Clavière and Servan, former Girondins ministers dismissed by Louis XVI, as well as Danton, to whom the Assembly entrusts the portfolio of Justice, counting on it to appease the Municipality.

Louis XVI was initially placed under house arrest at the Luxembourg Palace but, under popular pressure, the Assembly returned "the custody of the King and his family to the virtues of the citizens of Paris". On August 13, 1792, the royal family was imprisoned in the Temple, and the trial of the king, suspected of collusion with foreign powers, appeared more and more inevitable. Elected by universal suffrage, but with nearly 90% abstention, the Convention held its first session on September 21, 1792 and proclaimed the abolition of royalty. So begins the First Year of the Republic. For the men of the Year II, August 10 was a very foundational event. Carrier of essential values, it marks the advent of the sovereignty of the People which is now embodied in the Nation.

  • August 10, 1792
  • fall of royalty
  • National Guard
  • revolutionary days
  • constitutional monarchy
  • sans culottes
  • Tuileries
  • Convention
  • Claviere (Etienne)
  • Days of October 1789
  • Lebrun-Tondu (Pierre)
  • Louis XVI
  • Monge (Gaspard)
  • Servan (Joseph)
  • Danton (Georges)


Albert MATHIEZ, August 10, Paris, Éditions de la Passion, 1989.Marcel REINHARD, The Fall of Royalty (August 10, 1792), Paris, Gallimard, coll. “Thirty days that made France”, 1969.Denis RICHET, entry “Revolutionary Days”, in François Furet and Mona Ozouf, Critical Dictionary of the French Revolution, Paris, Flammarion, coll. "Champs Flammarion", 1992. Michel VOVELLE, The Fall of the Monarchy 1787-1792, Paris, Le Seuil, coll. “Points Histoire”, 1972.

To cite this article

Alain GALOIN, "August 10, 1792 - From constitutional monarchy to the Republic"

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