Alfred de Neuville, considered along with Edouard Detaille to be the top military artist of the Third Republic, seized on this famous episode to compose a tragic scene exalting the men's courage. This much-reproduced painting ranked amongst the most popular works of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It became the icon of patriotic heroism through which vanquished France might recover her wounded pride.
Following its restoration and prior to the reopening of the Bazeilles Museum, the Comité national des troupes de marines has lent The Last Ammunition to the Musée d'Orsay. The loan provides an occasion to view the work alongside other Alphonse de Neuville paintings of episodes in the Franco-Prussian war.
Sylvie Patry, curator, Musée d'Orsay