(b. 1798, Charenton-Saint-Maurice, d. 1863, Paris)

Liberty Leading the People (detail)

Oil on canvas
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Contemporary criticism focused on the eroticism of the bare breasts, the dirty skin and the suggestion of hair at the armpits. These were taken to indicate that the goddess of liberty was a woman of the people, a fishwife, a Venus of the streets and not a countess from the Faubourg Saint-Germain.

Thirty years later, Victor Hugo immortalised the urchin as Gavroche, in Les Miserables.