Allegorical print with Franklin: MIRABEAU ARRIVE AUX CHAMPS ÉLISÉES, 1792
Collection of Stuart E....
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Collection of Stuart E. Karu. Photo by Peter Harholdt, 2004

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The scene depicts an allegorical encounter in the Elysian Fields (the paradise of classical mythology). The French revolutionary figure, Mirabeau (1749-1791), having arrived by boat, steps ashore in a forest. He gestures backward, as though to the world of mankind which he has just left, while offering to Rousseau a copy of his Essay on Despotism. Above his head, a putto bears a Liberty Cap on a pole, and a banner with the words LA FRANCE LIBRE [FRANCE IS FREE!]. Behind Mirabeau, putti struggle with a stack of his books and papers. Stepping forward to greet him and place a wreath of oak leaves on his head is Benjamin Franklin. Rousseau is seated to Franklin's right, with an open copy of his book, The Social Contract. A group of sages, philosophers, and upholders of Liberty gather around: Montesquieu, Voltaire, Mably and Fénélon come to receive him. In the distance Demosthenes and Cicero look on.

Beneath the image is its title, flanked by the names of the artist and engraver, Moreau and Masquelier. Beneath is a lengthy description of the scene, identifying the individuals who are depicted.

There are examples of the print in several U.S. collections, among them the American Philosophical Society, the National Portrait Gallery, and Franklin & Marshall College.
Connection to Franklin
Allegorical scene depicting Franklin Terms of Use Credits