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"Illustration Nouvelle 4e. Annee 1872" by Ferdinand Roybet, Fr., (1840-1920)
Etching, 1872, Ed. unknown, 9-5/16 x 6-3/16, title page, on cream laid paper watermarked ED & Cie. A seasoned portrait and genre painter and etcher, Roybet's "potent" image, aside from the obvious sexual symbolism, is an interesting combination of motifs. We see of course the male figure with phallic cannon at his side, and mallet in his hand forging the protective armour for a strong France which lays at his feet . The little owl is often a symbol of both wisdom and harbinger of the ominous. It is perched on the instrment of war, in front of a landscape not of agrarian fields, but a forest of factories with smokestacks spewing billowing clouds of smoke, a fitting vision of France in the throes of the new political order of the Third Republic and burgeoning industrial revolution.