This famous painting is a depiction of the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in Paris which took place on August 24,1572. It illustrates scenes from the most notorious incident in the French Wars of Religion and demonstrates to us a striking example of the extremes of religious intolerance and what it can lead to. This painting was made by Huguenot painter, François Dubois, who was reported to have been an eyewitness to the massacre of thousands of his fellow Huguenots on the streets of Paris. My first impression of the painting was its use of color. The dark tone of color gives the painting a gloomy atmosphere. We see all types of people, women, men, children, being tortured and persecuted. Gory and bloodshed is being depicted all throughout the image.
In the painting we see many dead bodies lying on the floor as well as soldiers on horses, using spheres and swords to strike and kill. We see people trying to carry the dead bodies away from the battle field. In the right side of the picture, we see two people being hung to their death. The buildings, however, seem to remain intact and there is no sign of a fire. Despite the brutal violence taking place in the painting, we do see hills and landscapes in the distance that seem a bit more peaceful than the area of the massacre.
In addition, in this picture two eminent people were depicted. The first was Admiral Coligny, a French nobleman and Huguenot leader in the French Wars of Religion, who was killed with a sword through his chest. His body is shown hanging through a window at the right side of the image. The second was Catherine de Medici, an Italian noblewoman who was the Queen of France from 1547-1559. She is shown in the painting to the rear left and seems to have appeared from the Louvre Palace to inspect the dead bodies.