This important painting of a Black Haitian deputy, once enslaved, commemorates his participation in the assembly that abolished slavery in France in 1794. He wears the tricolored uniform of a deputy of the French National Convention and only his gold earring speaks to his Colonial ties.
The French Revolution was the defining event of this decade—politically, socially, and culturally. At the meeting of the Estates General in May 1789, dress became a point of contention and between the fall of the Bastille on July 14 to the end of the Reign of Terror in July 1794, men and women’s clothing was the subject of scrutiny, surveillance, and controversy.
Matilda Stoughton de Jaudenes, painted by Gilbert Stuart in 1794, is dressed extravagantly at the height of contemporary style.
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