DETAILLE, Jean Baptiste Edouard
(b. 1848, Paris, d. 1912, Paris)
Oil on canvas, 300 x 390 cm
Musée d'Orsay, Paris
In this painting the myth and reality confront each other. Soldiers have prepared themselves a place to rest for the night on the ground, their rifles have been placed upright to make a neat line that stretches as far as the horizon. An unworldly scene unfurls against the sky. French military triumph is represented by the patriotic colours of red, white, and blue.
This impressive work demonstrates a patriotism that developed in France after the Prussian victory of 1870-71.