Marianne
the embodiment of the French Republic.

She is the symbol  of a Republic, constructed under one motto. :

"Liberty, Equality, Fraternity".

The origins of the name Marianne are uncertain. Marie-Anne was a very common first name in the 18th century, and she thus came to represent the people; the counter-revolutionaries used the name derisively when referring to the Republic.

Around 1790 sculptures and paintings began to use female figures adorned with a Phrygian bonnet as vehicles for the values of the French Revolution.

The Phrygian bonnet was first worn during the Roman Empire by slaves who had been freed by their masters, making their descendents citizens of the Empire. This symbol of freedom made the perfect symbol for the French Revolutionaries

In 1792, the young Republic decided that the official state seal would feature a new goddess in a red hat symbolizing liberty and republican pride.

Little by little, Marianne became the most widely shared representation of the motherland, at times fiery and warlike, at times pacific and nurturing.

Under the Third Republic, statues, and especially busts, of Marianne began to proliferate, particularly in town halls. She was represented in several different manners, depending on whether the aim was to emphasize her revolutionary nature or her "wisdom." Occasionally, the Phrygian cap was felt to be too seditious, and was replaced by a diadem or a crown.


By 1969 it was decided that, rather than a heroic ideal, Marianne should be a celebrity. The first bust was of Brigitte Bardot. Later models included Mireille Mathieu, Catherine Deneuve, Ines de la Fressange.

France - under the initiative of the AMF ("Association des maires de France" with over 35000 Mayors) - chose in a nationwide vote Laetitia Casta to be the model of Marianne of the year 2000. To create her sculpture the Association of the Mayors of France elected the artist Marie-Paule Deville-Chabrolle. The new Marianne of the 21st century was presented for the first time in November 1999, at the 82ème Congress of the Mayors of France