In the 18th century, the Concorde obelisk did not exist. In its place, there was a large statue of Louis XV on horseback. After the fall of the monarchy on August 11, 1792, the statue was removed and melted down. For one year, the pedestal remained empty. On August 10, 1793, for the major Festival of Union, a statue of Liberty was inaugurated, created by the sculptor François-Frédéric Lemot. Wearing a cap and dressed in a toga from antiquity, the statue was armed with a pike.
A Republic symbolized by a woman’s face…yet without women
Since the end of the 19th century, the Republic has been represented by a woman named Marianne. This tradition originated during the Revolution. When France became a Republic in September 1792, deputies decided that the symbol of the new regime would be a figure of Liberty. The oldest painted representation that we know of this kind was by Jean-Baptiste Wicar, hung in April 1793 on the façade of the French legation in Florence. However, this feminine allegory is paradoxical, to say the least: this Republic that presented itself with the features of a classical woman simultaneously excluded women from the right to vote.