Q.:- Representatives of the Third Estate take the oath raising their arms in the direction of Bailly, the President of the Assembly, standing on a table in the centre. Do you think that during the actual event Bailly would have stood with his back to the assembled deputies? What could have been David’s intention in placing Bailly (Fig.5) the way he has done?
No, during the actual event, Bailly would not have stood with his back to the assembled deputies. The artist was actually trying to show that the Constitution framed in 1791, after the 1789 revolution, had ‘turned its back ’ on the aspirations of the peasants, workers and women, instead of meeting them. Despite the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen, the right to vote and stand for election remained with the rich and propertied class. The others were just passive citizens.