A while back I mentioned delving into the topic of the chemise à la reine and its *ahem* racier associations. I figured what better day to do that than a Saturday, when people aren’t likely to be checking this blog at work?

But just in case, I have put the image behind the cut.

Marie-Antoinette leading General Lafayette on a phallus with ostrich legs, c. 1790.

Marie-Antoinette leading General Lafayette on a phallus with ostritch legs, c. 1790.

Pretty ridiculous, non? Let me help explain what’s going on here: That’s General Lafayette (yes, the same General that played a huge role in the American Revolution) astride an ostrich shaped like a phallus. Maire-Antoinette is obviously encouraging the General to ride gallantly into… Er… Well, you can probably infer the rest by the presence of Cupid floating overhead.

The anonymous artist was making a couple of different clever puns, playing off the similar sounding sounding “l’autriche” (ostrich) and “l’autrichienne” (Austrian woman), both of which Marie-Antoinette had been labeled since day one at Versailles. (Side note: I think the standard reference of “Austrian bitch” is also implied, what with the identical spelling of “-chienne” and “chienne = bitch.”)

You can read more about this particular image, and other similar images of Marie-Antoinette, here.