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The Execution of MaximilianEnlarge image

The Execution of Maximilian, 1868

Édouard Manet
French, 1832 - 1883
crayon lithograph with scraping on chine collé
Printed by Imprimerie Lemercier
47.3 x 62 cm; image: 33.6 x 43.3 cm
Purchased 1978
National Gallery of Canada (no. 18992)

Maximilian, emperor of French-occupied Mexico from 1864, was executed with two of his generals on 19 June 1867, after France removed its military from the country and rebel forces gained control. In the lithograph he is shown wearing a sombrero, a fact Manet might have read in extensive press coverage of the incident. The theme recalls Goya's famous execution scene, "3 May 1808", 1815 (The Prado, Madrid). Napoleon III's censors prohibited the circulation of this politically sensitive image and it was not published until 1884, following Manet's death.

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