During the events which shook France in July 1830, the artist Philippe-Auguste Jeanron was only 22. Patriot and activist, he then took part in the popular uprising which ended the government of Charles X and the Restauration, called the Revolution of July or Les Trois Glorieuses [The Three Glorious Days]. In opposition to the absolute monarchy restored after the fall of Napoléon (1815), the French people demanded again more rights and freedoms. A constitutional monarchy was established under the kingship of Louis-Philippe d’Orléans, often called the July Monarchy.
Jeanron, an enthusiastic promotor of human rights, was considered as the people’s spokesman, and translated his ideas into his works and his publications. As his contemporaries, such as Honoré Daumier, Eugène Delacroix or Jean-Jacques Grandville, the scenes witnessed by Jeanron had influences on his artistic career, with the production of iconic figures of revolutionary events– such as barricades, flags, the crowd, etc. – as for instance his marvelous painting Les Petits Patriotes (Caen, Musée des Beaux-Arts). However, the artist here used a specific angle, his own standpoint. The foe and the battle are invisible but the window marks a neat separation between the two camps, the artist having deliberately placed the spectator on the revolutionaries’ side. The scene’s dramatic sobriety confirms the realistic tendency developed by the artist during the July Monarchy. From then, his painting acquired a more social and critical approach illustrating the worsening living conditions of the working classes caused directly by the established rules of the new power. He then becomes « le peintre du peuple et des douleurs contemporaines », according to the journalist and politician Louis Véron, who adds that « M. Jeanron porte une grande responsabilité ; c’est lui qui comprend le mieux la direction de l’art moderne et qui l’exprime avec le plus de verdeur » . Later, Jeanron participated also to the 1848 Revolution, his commitment made him the head of the Musées nationaux under the temporary government.