manet and the execution of maximilian
spacer
Visit MoMA.orgHomeTimelineCreditsPublication
 

L’Indépendance belge, July 31, 1867 [by] "correspondent particulier de L'indépendance, " Mexico, June 28

The execution took place on the platform on top of the Cerro de la Campanas; four men were obliged to carry him [Maximilian] there on a chair. Miramón and Mejía walked on either side of him.

Once in the middle of the square formed by the soldiers, the captain commanding the company in charge of the execution approached him and asked him not to hold it against him for the painful duty he was charged with fulfilling. The emperor embraced him. This scene moved everyone. Many of the soldiers cried.

Miramón and Mejía, condemned as traitors, would be shot in the back, Maximilian in the front. . . . They also allowed him [Maximilian] to die between his generals, holding their hands. Miramón, back turned, was on his right, Mejía on his left. The emperor, taller than they, towered over both. He was dressed in black from head to toe, his buttoned suit had an engraved silver plate on the left side; a Mexican hat with a large, unfolded brim shaded his head.

The soldiers fired, and the smoke dissipated; then we saw that the emperor had fallen backward, the two generals forward . . . The sergeant who had to finish off the prince had to step over the body in order to complete his sad mission. He shot him in the head, which stopped his movements, though his legs continued to twitch. As no other man had his rifle loaded, the sergeant, his shot released, was obliged to reload his weapon; but he was so upset that he had to do it several times and, unable to put the rod in place, as his hands were trembling so, he let it fall to the ground in order to fire the second shot. Then everything was over.

 

back to home

spacer
spacer
manet and the execution of maximilian
spacer
Copyright 2006 by the Museum of Modern Art