Do you know the Popular Imagery of Wissembourg? It's a bit like the images of Epinal, for Alsace.
The images of Epinal, everyone knows them, to the point that the expression has passed into common language: "it's an image of Epinal" meaning, by extension of the principles of production and distribution, a snapshot, obvious, something known to all. However, popular imagery is much older than the productions that immediately come to mind. These images date back to the 16th century and the first printing centers were in France Paris, then Chartres, Orléans and along the Loire. It was not until the beginning of the 19th century that these images were printed in eastern France. Epinal in the first place, but also Metz, Nancy, Pont à Mousson, Montbéliard, Belfort and Wissembourg.
To understand the tremendous success of these images, you have to think back to a time when travel was rare, when only stained glass windows in churches, or even images in books, were sources of iconographic knowledge. We then find these images on fairs and markets, or it is the peddlers who bring the novelties of the city to the countryside. These images with simple shapes, rich colors, constitute, for a very modest sum, so many small pleasures that feed the imagination, brighten up interiors and protect their owners. Because popular imagery has its functions: that of the saint whose first name we bear will watch over you, that of Saint Roch protects against the plague, those of Saint Peter and Saint Paul ward off diseases from cattle, Saint Fiacre helps gardeners in their tasks...
Appreciated medium, cheap, widely distributed, the popular image is also an ideal medium for telling stories to adults, such as Napoleon's Campaigns, to children, tales and legends. But the image can also be educational, advertising, or simply entertaining.