Marius Roy: La Part des Pauvres
The urban population affected by poverty frequently gathered at the gate of the army barracks in the cities. The painting depicts an authentic scene: Sunday, cuirassiers at the door of their neighborhood, presumably located in the Rennes region, give leftover soup to beggars. The painter Marius Roy, appointed drawing master at the Ecole Polytechnique, specialized in the representation of military life in its simplest aspects. This painting, exhibited at the 1886 Salon and at the National and Regional Exhibition of Rennes in 1887, in which is felt the influence of naturalism, shows the bond of solidarity between the army and the population under the Third Republic. Ensuring the defense of the nation, the army is no longer cut off from the people as before, she also wants to be educator, and even charitable as seen here.
This propaganda scene seeks to renew the military’s image. This social vision of the army, very rare in painting, illustrates the egalitarian ideology of the Third Republic. Held responsible for the defeat of 1870-1871 in the Franco-Prussian War, the institution later came to embody social health and represents a bulwark against civil war. Moral recovery of the nation rests with them. [L’Histoire par L’Image]