Spanning the rise and fall of the Napoleonic Empire, the career of Jean-Louis-André Théodore Géricault (1791–1824) culminated during the fractious period of the French Restoration. Though dimmed by brief and disenchanting military service (1815) and the disappointments of the Napoleonic era, he found in lithography an appropriate match for his awareness of the politics of contemporary France. Later in the 19th century, the years 1870–71 marked the humiliating defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian war, the rise and suppression of the revolutionary Paris Commune, and the dawn of the Third Republic. At this moment, Édouard Manet (1832–1883) captures the street fighting of the Paris Commune and the ignominious execution of the young Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico in 1864.
Édouard Manet. The Execution of Maximilian, 1867–68. William McCallin McKee Memorial Collection.