The lithograph protests against the massacre of Parisian Communards in 1871 by French government forces.
This marked the end of the tumultuous Franco-German War and the Seige of Paris. The central dead Communard is dressed in National Guard uniform. The cloth in his hand suggests he waved a white flag of surrender before being shot. A civilian’s legs, in striped trousers, adds to the poignancy of the scene. This print was published in 1874 by Lemercier & Cie; Manet’s other civil war prints were considered unsuitable and only published posthumously.