A TROMPE L’OEIL PRINT OF MONEY. ENGRAVING COLORED BY HAND. ATTRIBUTED TO NICHOLAS MARIE GATTEAUX. ENTITLED: TABLEAU DES PAPIERS ET MONNOYES. Avec l’echelle de proportion de leur valeur pendant leurs cours adopté par le conseil des Anciens le 5 Messidor An V.
FRENCH, JUNE 1797
H: 24 W: 28.5 inches
H: 61 W: 72.4 cm
With conversion tables, rows of coins and a pile of paper bills centered by a beggar in an orange robe. In a molded ebonised frame.
Nicholas Marie Gatteaux (1751 -1832) was a sculptor and medallist; among his accomplishments was the invention of a machine for duplicating sculpture. He also designed and engraved paper money, lottery tickets, tax stamps and other official and legal paper, of the sort represented here, which may be examples of his work. Included are paper currency of various issues during the early years of the Republic, centered on an amusing engraving of a beggar, a symbolic warning to those who would put their trust in such ephemeral guarantors of wealth.Messidor was the tenth month in the French Republican Calendar. The month was named after the Latin word messis, which means harvest. Messidor was the first month of the summer quarter (mois d'été). It started June 19 or June 20 and ended July 18 or July 19. It follows the Prairial and precedes the Thermidor.