“Transnonen Street April 15, 1834”, Honore Daumier – description

Description of the picture:

Transnonen Street April 15, 1834 – Honore Daumier. 1834. Lithography.
The lithograph “Transnonen Street April 15, 1834” is dedicated to the terrible catastrophe that erupted in Paris. In terms of the dramatic nature of fate, Daumier himself was an accidental witness to the grave consequences (removal of bodies), which led to the creation of this lithograph as a response, a protest to the injustice of the authorities.

But it was like that. A number of days before the massacre at Transnonen in Lyon, there is a revolt of weavers. The fervor of protesters is rapidly being transmitted to the workers of Paris. The authorities are already expecting unrest and are ready for confusion fully armed and with all possible ruthlessness and uncompromisingness.

On the night of April 15, a shot rang out near house number 12 on Transnonen Street – they shot at officer 30 of the 5th Line Regiment and he was killed on the spot. A whole detachment of fighter was sent to retaliation. When there was a knock on the door of an already peaceful sleeping house, the awakened residents were even happy – the rebels were afraid and afraid, while the soldiers gave a sense of protection. But a little appeared on the threshold, the fighters began indiscriminately to kill everyone: guys, old people, women and even children. In the morning, 12 corpses were taken out of the entrance of the house.

The artist Daumier, who very sharply felt injustice and mercilessly exposed the lawlessness, immediately responded to the event with a new work. For ordinary city people who are shocked by the tragedy that struck at night, this lithography has become a kind of symbol of fierce protest against violence and state arbitrariness.

How did the author decide to portray such a large-scale and monstrous massacre so that what happened would reach everyone’s heart? No, there are no rivers of blood disfigured by the fury of the faces of soldiers or bloodied bayonets. Unfurled sheets, rout and a dead man in a nightcap make a stronger impression than if Daumier depicted the chaos of execution.

Stains of dried blood are visible on the murdered white shirt. Next to the murdered, the viewer sees the head of an old man and someone’s legs. Who is it? Perhaps close relatives, father, wife … They all shared the sad fate of the protagonist. However, the worst is revealed when we take a closer look at the figure of the murdered: the defeated fell directly onto the small body of his dead child.

The situation underlines the horror of what happened. Overturned furniture, dirty traces of blood on the floor. One can only guess how terrible the last moments of these innocent people were, who, before meeting their death, were forced to see how their relatives were dying.

Not only the plot, but also its masterful embodiment makes a great impression – Daumier was able to achieve volume and plasticity in his lithographs. The author also filigree beat light and shadow in the work. The central figure is snatched out by a light that seems to burst into a dark room from an open door. Everything else is deliberately shrouded in a shadow that swallowed the rest of the unfortunate.

Looking at this work, great Christian compassion invariably arises for innocently killed ordinary residents of house No. 12. But it is pity that causes another, stronger emotion – anger. This is what Daumier sought."

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