Witnessing Terror: French Revolutionary Prints, 1792-94

14th Jan 2020  -  12th Jun 2020
13:00  - 17:00
Free. Tuesday - Friday

Our latest exhibition focuses on a period of the French Revolution known as the Terror (1792-94) that was characterised by a political culture of violence when public executions were rife.

The prints on display offer visitors a glimpse of the visual material that the French and the rest of Europe were exposed to when events that had no precedent in Europe were unfolding before them at rapid speed in the absence of the 24hr news channels and social media platforms of the 21st century.

From portraits of revolutionary martyrs to dramatic scenes of Parisian crowds, prints provide a unique insight into how people understood life around them. Alongside these, we’ll be showing everyday images and objects such as paper money, passports, maps and placards.

Together, this visual legacy invites reflection on the role images played in how state-sponsored violence came to be perceived by supporters of the revolution as something acceptable and beyond that how we react to acts of political violence.

This exhibition draws on current research at UCL and Queen Mary University.


Discover more about the exhibition

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A chance to view temporary displays by UCL History of Art MA students, inspired by the Witnessing Terror exhibition and curated as part of their seminar Time, Media, Revolution: Art and Politics in France 1789-1871. 

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UCL Lunch Hour Lectures: Technologies of Terror: Witnessing Revolution in France
13:00 - 14:00, 19 March 2020
UCL Darwin Theatre, Darwin Building, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT


This is a unique opportunity to hear about the role of images in the period of the French Revolution known as the Terror from Dr Richard Taws from UCL History of Art, one of the curators of the exhibition Witnessing Terror: French Revolutionary Prints, 1792-94 (14 January – 12 June 2020) at UCL Art Museum. In our contemporary political context, in which ‘Terror’ has taken on a variety of disturbing meanings, and in which the proliferation of images plays an increasingly significant role in how we comprehend acts of political violence, it is ever more important to examine this radical period in French history through the print culture it inspired.

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19:00 – 21.30, 26 March 2020
UCL Art Museum

Where does the truth lie? Which side are you on? Responding to the French Revolution and our Witnessing Terror exhibition, this evening of encounters with artists and academics explores how personal eyewitness accounts and iconographic imagery shape our view of this turbulent time in French history, which still resonate today.
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