George Biddle, Victory
Victory may be the first of Biddle’s many works of political art. The figure is Marianne, the embodiment of the French nation; she beseeches the heavens to save her country from the horrors of World War I. Her arms reach up to the sky and her right foot steps forward. Although she is strong, her wide-legged stance suggests a fragile stability. Biddle’s representation of France as a female nude reflects his faith in France as a civilizing force, an anchor of progressive art and culture. Marianne’s dramatic hair, extending beyond the border of the image, are the flowing tresses of Art Nouveau. In 1918, Biddle’s friend and fellow champion of French painting Arthur B. Carles would create a similar image of Marianne’s hard-won victory, his largescale political statement, La Marseillaise.