“It’s often said that the French Revolution (1789-1799) created the “blueprint” for all revolutions to come. Unlike any event before it, the Revolution drew its strength from ideology — an ideology that turned on the belief that France had created a radical break with its monarchical past, and would now radically re-organize itself along egalitarian and democratic lines. To drive this message home, the revolutionaries produced thousands of pamphlets and political works of art. What’s more, they created a new revolutionary calendar and a series of revolutionary festivals that helped give cultural expression to the idea that France had entered a new political age.
More than a century later, the Russian revolutionaries would use the French blueprint and all cultural tools at their disposal to promote its Marxist ideals. You’ve seen the posters. Yyou’vewatched the films. Maybe yyou’veread their texts. But perhaps you’re not as familiar with where revolutionary propaganda all began, in which case you’ll want to rummage through a new archive of 14,000 images from the French Revolution, created by Stanford University and the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF). The new archive contains visual materials that will intrigue scholars as much as history buffs.”