Gargantua, a lithograph created by Honoré Daumier in 1831, portrayed the French king Louis-Philippe as a gluttonous giant who devours the labor of his people while sitting in a toilet-like throne, and attacked the king’s person and his government with a satirical manner. Apart from its portrayal of the king as a social cannibal, Gargantua also had a scatological humor by representing the king in defecating. For this reason, this lithograph was by no means tolerated by the July Monarchy that struggled to control over the press by censorship throughout its reign.
In this research paper that aims to study the meanings and reasons behind Daumier’s portrayal of king Louis-Philippe as a ravenous giant in Gargantua, it will be discussed why this caricature, which the government both censored and sentenced Daumier to imprisonment and fine penalty, discomforted the king and his government so much. In this context, it will be briefly reviewed the political, economic and social conditions in France before and after the 1830 July Revolution in order to get a better understanding on the political atmosphere during the time when Daumier started to draw satirical caricatures for the journal, La Caricature. Later, it will be discussed Gargantua’s literary references, its implications to king Louis-Philippe and his government, the domestic politics in 1831, and the impact of lithography on increasing power of the press in France.
Keywords: Honoré Daumier, Gargantua, lithography, political caricature, printmaking