Combat de deux cavaliers, faubourg Saint Antoine sous les murs de la contre-escarpe de la Bastille.
Even though the painting is anonymous, the fight it depicts was famous during the Fronde. Since 1648, Cardinal Mazarin, with the support of the Queen Anne d’Autriche, is facing the hostility of the Parlement de Paris which tries to extend its prerogatives and the Princes, who considered themseves fit to participate to the government of the Kingdom.
The Fronde in some aspects look like a civil war. In 1652, the Parlement de Paris is a decisive stake. The Prince of Condé tries to unify the different groups opposed to Mazarin. His army is getting close to Paris, but the Parlement, despite its dislike of Mazarin, refuses to open the city to him. Condé’s armies were nearby the city walls when the Royal army led by Turenne and La Ferté attacked him on the 2nd of July. A disproportionned fight arrised near the Porte Saint Antoine and Condé’s army found a way out thanks to the courage of its leader and the actions of the Grande Mademoiselle, cousin of the King, which managed to open the door of Paris and made the Bastille canon shoot the royal army.
That’s the fight the anonymous author decided to represent as a fight between two cavalries. We can suppose it was ordered by someone close to the Royal power celebrating the last important battle of the Fronde.
Indeed, on the 4th of July of the same year, the Princes tried a coup againt the Hôtel de Ville but only managed to arise the defiance of the Parisian population. As the ralliement to the King grew, Condé left Paris on the 14th of October, and Louis XIV entered the city on the 21st.