The Events of the French Revolution with Marie Dessaillen - Context Travel

The Events of the French Revolution with Marie Dessaillen

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In the course of a decade, the entire 1,400-year-old political, institutional and social edifice of France crumbled. Join a historian to look into the events, but also the concepts of the French Revolution, to understand how it came to escalate so fast, and how it changed history.

The French Revolution is like Janus, the two-faced god of War and Peace in Ancient Rome: it is a tale of violence, but also the story of a nation that started to think for itself. It is the moment when the French people decided their individual thoughts mattered and could have an impact on the whole system. A gigantic think tank that put Reason on a pedestal and reshaped society with, as its foundations, the concepts of "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité." A time for invention, that saw atrocities and idealism alike.

In part two of this conversation (part one looked at the revolution’s origins), this interactive discussion led by historian and art historian Marie Dessaillen will take you on a trip through the dangerously narrow streets of Paris to make sense of the revolutionary build-up that brought Louis XVI to the guillotine, Marat to his murder in a bathtub and Robespierre to his dislocated jaw (and guillotining... the Revolution eats its children after all!). We will see how the ideas of the Enlightenment mixed with the violence of the people turned a Monarchy into a Republic and the year 1792 into Year One. We will also learn how the Terror traumatized the country for many generations, allowing Napoleon Bonaparte to bring back the authority of the state during the Empire.

Photo credit: L’Histoire par l’image, digital version produced by Agence photographique de la Réunion des musées nationaux

The daughter of a sculptor, Marie has been surrounded by art ever since she was born. A native Parisienne, she holds an undergraduate degree in history and art history, with a specialty in iconography and French and Flemish paintings from the 16th to the 18th centuries. She also holds a Master's degree in museology from the Ecole du Louvre and one in Art History from the Sorbonne.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.