Aug 19, 2020
Aug 19, 2020

A Christening in Revolutionary France

A Christening in Revolutionary France

late 18th century

Jean-Baptiste Mallet

(French, 1759–1835)

Pen and brown and gray inks and red chalk and watercolor, heightened with white; squaring for transfer


Sheet: 33.3 x 44.6 cm (13 1/8 x 17 9/16 in.)

Bequest of Muriel Butkin 2017.213



Mallet’s image depicts a Republican baptism ceremony during the French Revolution. The event takes place in a magnificent Gothic church, identifiable as such by its pointed arches and stained glass window. A mother presents her infant to the priest who raises his right hand as he administers the sacrament. Even the musicians pause from playing to watch this spectacle.

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