The French Revolution saw a major shift in the political climate of France as the lower classes rose up to fight for their human and civil rights, to end the oppression of the church and state, and to put the power back in the hands of the people or Third Estate. A similar shift is clearly evident in the art of the French Revolution. In contrast to the frivolity of Rocco-style art, French Revolution art, known as Baroque, was intensely emotional with violent undertones. It represented the French populace's complete rejection of the lives and artwork of the wealthy elite, as well as their disdain for the unequal distribution of wealth in France. In fact, when the Revolutionaries stormed the palaces of Paris, they set about destroying any Rocco portraits of nobility they came across.
The Art of War of Revolutionary France, ..
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French Revolution - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
There is a lot of dancing in Hard Words, and a lot about God and the god/dess. The woman in "Carmagnole of the Thirtieth of June"-i.e., a song and street dance from the French Revolution-is "feeling mean" and dancing on the stomach of God, and on God's chest and guts and cock and eyes. This is Revolutionary Woman, going against the clergy of the old regime and all their works, including God, but rather more hopefully portrayed than the Revolution-as-Woman of French Revolutionary art; instead of leading the armed charge toward the Bastille and Liberty (and the Terror and betrayal), this woman calls upon all creation to "Get up and dance . . . !" (Hard Words 20-21). If Revolutionary Woman is not allowed to dance, she will have nothing to do with the revolution. In "The Night," Kali herself appears. Children fear her-with good reason; Kali is destructive-until "Mother takes the fear away" and we have Kali as night: "the god appears between her thighs / stands in beauty, dances, dies," and the Speaker calls in the final line, "O Mother, comfort me" (Hard Words 17). We can identify Kali and the Mother here: Parvati, Shiva's consort, is both Kali and Amba ("Mother"); except here Kali is Goddess, the Lady in the Hindu pantheon, Devi; and Shiva is consort to her, and, like Western consorts of "the Lady," dies. However we interpret Kali/Amba, it is clear that "The Night" introduces into Hard Words sex, the god, and the dance, and a series of poems on Kali and Shiva together (part II. The Dancing at Tillai).
Revolution in France - Boundless Open Textbook