Happy Bastille Day: 10 Great French Works of Art

Claude Monet

Today marks the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, the Paris prison that was the symbol of Louis XVI's absolutist monarchy. The jail held fewer than 10 prisoners, but the symbolic 1789 victory in has gone down in history as the day the first French Republic was born.

There are a few things the French don't do so well: cars, the Olympics, King-Louis-the-Anything-furniture. But there's also a lot that the French do well: food, movies, kissing.

The French love for and skill in creating art, though, has long been one of that nation's greatest gifts to Western culture, so much so that students have flocked for centuries to that country to learn the classic techniques as well as to witness the avant-garde. So, in honor of Bastille Day, here are 10 great French works of art.

Kordae Ortega contributed to this article.

Contemplation by Maryse Casol
Contemplation by Maryse Casol
flickr.com/photos/casol

 

View of a Villa, Pizzofalcone, Naples by Lancelot-Théodore Turpin de Crissé
View of a Villa, Pizzofalcone, Naples by Lancelot-Théodore Turpin de Crissé
flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago

 

Santa Trinità dei Monti in the Snow by André Giroux
Santa Trinità dei Monti in the Snow by André Giroux
flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago

 

Mother and Child by Mary Cassatt
Mother and Child by Mary Cassatt
flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago

 

Horses in a Meadow by Edgar Degas
Horses in a Meadow by Edgar Degas
flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago

 

The Old Oak by Jules Dupré
The Old Oak by Jules Dupré
flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago

 

Still Life with Grapes and a Carnation by Henri Fantin-Latour
Still Life with Grapes and a Carnation by Henri Fantin-Latour
flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago

 

Fantata te Miti (By the Sea) by Paul Gauguin
Fantata te Miti (By the Sea) by Paul Gauguin
flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago

 

Odalisque by Auguste Renoir
Odalisque by Auguste Renoir
flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago

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