Rome was the ideal pattern for Empires and because of that there was mostly a close relation in France between French - i.e. Napoleonic history - and ancient Rome. So the French needed much more time to discover their sympathies for their barbarian ancestors than their German neighbors.
That changed with the French defeat 1871 and the end of the Empire of Napoleon III. Also in France now appeared paintings with fierce barbarian warriors as symbols of natural, national power.
Some of the best of this kind of paintings were from the French painter Joseph-Noël Sylvestre (1847-1926). It’s clear that he is totally with the barbarians, who are cutting the Romans to pieces.
The Gaul Ducar decapitates the roman general Flaminius in the battle of Lake Trasimeno (1882)
The sack of Rome by the barbarians 410 (1890)
Augustus Edwin John
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