A question of rights, by Cynthia MacWhorter

MacWhorterMarie-AntoinetteCynthia MacWhorter participated in the 2009 Teachers as Scholars program on “The French Revolution: A Cultural Approach” (10/6 & 10/13/09). The creative project she contributed is a painting in grisaille of Marie-Antoinette juxtaposed, over whirling cloud-like brush strokes, against images of Robespierre, the halls of Versailles, the National Assembly, and the guillotine. The text on the painting reads: “October 16, 1793: What was her crime, really? Born, wrong place, wrong time? Totally clueless? Married a guy equally clueless? Not French?”
This commentary accompanies the painting: “Due to the fact that the revolution was all about human rights, I felt I wanted to address the lack of rights granted to the many persons who lost their lives due to who they were by birth. Obviously they were not totally innocent of ignorance, respect for the plight of thousands of deprived individuals and a lack of understanding which they probably could have remedied, but as I am opposed to captital punishment for even the worst criminals in contemporary society, I wanted to draw (with paint) attention to the young Queen and her plight.”
Cynthia MacWhorter, Art teacher, St. Joseph High School, South Bend, IN

One thought on “A question of rights, by Cynthia MacWhorter

  1. Yes… but Marie-Antoinette absolutely did hold treasonous correspondence with France’s enemies in time of war, absolutely did do her best to inform them of military plans, and absolutely did intend, along with her ‘clueless’ husband, to return to power over the dead bodies of whoever it took. The crowdpleasing misogyny of her trial ought not to blind us to the fact that she was actually guilty.

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