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Mariana: France's Real 'First Lady'

Mariana: France's Real 'First Lady'

By Ruban SaundersPublished 5 months ago 3 min read

Since Francois Hollande became president of France, how to address his unmarried girlfriend Trierweiler has been a test of diplomatic etiquette. There is only one "First Lady of the Republic" in the heart of France, and she is Mariana. This is a fictional image, that has been with the "French Republic" for more than 200 years, symbolizing the French spirit of liberty, equality, and fraternity as the absolute "first lady". Her bronze statue stands in the middle of Place de la Republique and Place de la Nation in Paris, representing the "victory of the Republic". Mariana is also the world's only virtual First Lady.

Higher than the president

Marianne's female name derived from the popularity of the 18th century and Mary Anna, in 1792, after the birth of the first French republic revolutionary song "Marianne recovery" combined two names for the first time, as a symbol of the republic, song sing times across France, Mariana followed refer to a republican system in the revolution. To date, her image not only appears on government seals, MEDALS, presidential ballots, and stamps, almost every city hall has a statue of Mariana. She is also depicted on the back of the French euro coin and the retired franc. Since 1999, the French authorities have decided to integrate the blue, white, and red flag, Mariana and liberty, equality, and fraternity into the unified image logo of the new government agencies, which will be printed on relevant brochures, publications, promotional materials, letterheads, and business cards.

French children are exposed to Mariana's story, learning from her spirit and following her example from national education classes in kindergarten. As adults, they get married at City Hall, where the couple professes their loyalty and love in front of a statue of Mariana, allowing her to witness the sacred moment when they say their vows of the union. When a baby is born, many people name their daughter Mariana, hoping that the baby will be protected by her. Mariana's image also often intervenes in the political arena. When France went on strike in 2010 to protest the government's pension reforms, she was depicted as a mother slapping her child on the bottom. In this year's presidential election, some radical voters even dressed up as Mariana to pressure reform candidates. Immediately after Hollande won the election on the night of May 6, newspapers published cartoons of him dancing with Mariana, with the headline "Mariana has changed partners!" It is no exaggeration to say that the virtual Mariana is more famous in France than any first lady, and her status is even higher than that of the president.

The models all look alike

Because Mariana is a fictional character, how to bring her back to life in paintings, sculptures, and stamps is a problem that artists must solve. The official version of Mariana represents women in general and has not yet identified a model. Historically, artists' wives, girlfriends, and even unknown young women were invited to work part-time. But the most iconic and widely known is Delacroix's 1830 painting "Liberty Leading the People", in which Mariana is healthy, determined, beautiful, and simple, leading a revolutionary army of workers and intellectuals. It wasn't until 1969 that famous women began to be voted on as live models by the French Association of Mayors. The first real model of Mariana was the movie star Brigitte Bardot, and then the movie star Catherine Deneuve and others. In 2012, Sophie Marceau was officially appointed as the seventh real model of Mariana. The commonality of Mariana's appearance is that she wears a Phrygian hat and is half-naked from the top. It is not difficult to see that in addition to temperament and beauty, all Mariana models have the following commonalities: healthy image, firm character, outstanding moral character, and positive attitude. It is this "divine likeness" that makes the ever-changing appearance of Mariana, as a symbol of republican spirit, occupy the only constant lofty position in the heart of the French. Mariana has acquired a youthful and vigorous lasting vitality from the rich and constantly updated archetypes.


About the Creator

Ruban Saunders

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