The martyrs of prairial

The martyrs of prairial

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Title: The last Montagnards.

Author : RONOT Charles (1820 - 1895)

Creation date : 1882

Date shown: June 17, 1795

Dimensions: Height 290 - Width 200

Technique and other indications: Oil on canvas

Storage place: Museum of the French Revolution, Vizille website

Contact copyright: © Museum of the French Revolution, Vizille

Picture reference: Ref. 000PE031077 / Inv. 882.1

The last Montagnards.

© Museum of the French Revolution, Vizille

Publication date: March 2016

Historical context

Exacerbated by the social crisis, famine and unemployment, exalted by the repression and persecution carried out against sectional militants following the days of Germinal Year III, a crowd of women and men invaded the convention hall on the 1st prairial year III (May 20, 1795) and demanded “bread and the Constitution of 1793” never applied. They are the “prairial martyrs” here represented by Ronot almost a century later.

Image Analysis

The six Montagnards are larger than life in this imposing composition of more than 3 meters high and 2 meters wide. Ronot makes Goujon the main hero of the scene. In the 1882 Salon booklet in which the painting is presented, he relies on a quote from theHistory of the Revolution de Thiers: Romme "passed the knife on to Goujon, who with a steady hand struck himself the fatal blow". Due to the light that illuminates his colorful clothes and his dramatic gesture, Goujon, the only one looking in front of him, is indeed the main character of the composition and therefore of the historical moment imaged by the artist. Romme, whom Thiers reminds us that he was the first to strike and "fearing to miss himself, several times struck himself in the heart, neck, face", and lies bloody at the bottom of the steps of the tribunal, with his back to the spectators. the gaze is then directed towards the two members of the Convention who, in an attitude of great brotherhood, gaze admiringly at Goujon. Behind him, a fifth condemned man repeats his gesture and his posture. Finally, a last figure masked by the half-light looks at the whole scene, the right index finger pointing skyward in a prophetic gesture.


Revolutionary events arouse growing interest in the years preceding the commemoration of the first centenary of the French Revolution. Thus, despite very hostile criticism, this painting was acquired by the state and placed in storage in Bourg-en-Bresse, the birthplace of Goujon. However, there is still some uncertainty as to the identity of the Convention members behind Romme, Goujon and Bourbotte, all three located on the left side of the table and easily identifiable. Philippe Bordes leans for a chronological progression: Duquesnoy, Soubrany and Duroy - from the youngest to the oldest -, while A. Ehrard proposes Soubrany, Duroy and Duquesnoy, based on sartorial criteria and on the social origins of the three conventional.

  • Convention
  • deputies
  • revolutionary figures
  • justice
  • martyr
  • Mountain people
  • Thiers (Adolphe)


Antoinette EHRARD "The memory of the" Martyrs of Prairial "in the public space" in Gilbert Romme (1750-1795) Paris, Société des Etudes robespierristes, 1996. Mona OZOUF "Montagnards" in Critical Dictionary of the French Revolution Paris, Flammarion, 1988, reed. "Champs" collection, 1992. Catalog of paintings, sculptures and drawings Vizille, Museum of the French Revolution, 1986.

To cite this article

Pascal DUPUY, "The Martyrs of Prairial"