Oath of the Horatii
Oath of the Horatii, is a large painting by the French artist Jacques-Louis David painted in 1784 and now on display in the Louvre in Paris. The painting immediately became a success with critics and the public. It depicts a scene from a Roman legend about a dispute between two warring cities and Alba Longa, and stresses the importance of patriotism and masculine self-sacrifice for ones country. Instead of the two cities sending their armies to war, they agree to choose three men from each city, the victor in that fight will be the victorious city. From Rome, three brothers from a Roman family, the Horatii, agree to end the war by fighting three brothers from a family of Alba Longa, the Curiatii. The three brothers, all of whom appear willing to sacrifice their lives for the good of Rome, are shown saluting their father who holds their swords out for them, of the three Horatii brothers, only one shall survive the confrontation. Aside from the three brothers depicted, David represents, in the right corner, a woman crying whilst sitting down.
She is Camilla, a sister of the Horatii brothers, who is betrothed to one of the Curiatii fighters. The principal sources for the story behind Davids Oath are the first book of Livy which was elaborated by Dionysius in book 3 of his Roman Antiquities, the moment depicted in Davids painting is his own invention. It grew to be considered a paragon of neoclassical art, the painting increased Davids fame, allowing him to take on his own students. In 1774, David won the Prix de Rome with his work Érasistrate découvrant la cause de la maladie d’Antiochius and this allowed him to stay five years in Rome as a student from the French government. There he met Pecoul, contractor for the buildings, and Pecouls daughter. The kings assistant, Charles-Claude Flahaut de la Billaderie, commissioned Oath of the Horatii with the intention that it be an allegory about loyalty to the state, David departed from the agreed-upon scene, painting this scene instead. The painting was not completed in Paris, but rather in Rome, Davids picture manifests a progressive outlook, deeply influenced by Enlightenment ideas, that eventually contributed to the overthrow of the monarchy.
As the French Revolution approached, paintings increasingly referred to the loyalty to the rather than the family or the church. Painted five years before the Revolution, the Oath of the Horatii reflects the tensions of the period. In 1789, David painted The Lictors Bring to Brutus the Bodies of His Sons, as revolution in France loomed, paintings urging loyalty to the state rather than to clan or clergy abounded. Although it was painted nearly four years before the revolution in France, in the painting, the three brothers express their loyalty and solidarity with Rome before battle, wholly supported by their father
The Intervention of the Sabine Women
David began planning the work while he was imprisoned in the Luxembourg Palace in 1795. David hesitated between representing either this subject or that of Homer reciting his verses to his fellow Greeks and he finally chose to make a canvas representing the Sabine women interposing themselves to separate the Romans and Sabines, as a sequel to Poussins The Rape of the Sabine Women. Work on the painting commenced in 1796, after his wife visited him in jail. He conceived the idea of telling the story, to honour his wife, the painting was seen as a plea for the people to reunite after the bloodshed of the revolution. Its realization took him four years. The painting depicts Romuluss wife Hersilia – the daughter of Titus Tatius, a vigorous Romulus prepares to strike a half-retreating Tatius with his spear, but hesitates. The rocky outcrop in the background is the Tarpeian Rock, a reference to civil conflict and she opened the city gates for the Sabines in return for what they bore on their arms. She believed that she would receive their golden bracelets, the Sabines crushed her to death with their shields, and she was thrown from the rock which since bore her name.
The genesis of Les Sabines and the work represented a significant departure for the day. Historical depictions had been typically commissioned, David however, conceived and promoted his work for profit. He produced marketing material to accompany the first exhibition and its 1799 exhibition attracted a large number of paying visitors for several years and in 1819 he sold Les Sabines and his Léonidas at Thermopylae to the Royal Museums for 10,000 francs. Starting in 1977, France issued a series of stamps featuring the head of Hersilia based on Davids painting. After the expulsion of artists including David from the Louvre, the picture could be found in the ancient church of Cluny, David - The Sabine Women A video discussion about the painting from Smarthistory, Khan Academy
Belisarius Begging for Alms
Belisarius Begging for Alms is a large-format history painting in oil on canvas by Jacques-Louis David. David exhibited the work at the Salon of 1781 after returning from Italy and it is now on show at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Lille. The theme of mercy is omnipresent in the work, focusing on the three people considered most base, the woman, the child and the old man who embodies the image of Mercy, the hands of these three individuals horizontally convey the idea of weakness involving need and love. The soldier, meanwhile, in the background, lifts his hands vertically to show his astonishment, the three human ages represented give an idea of the glory of youth and the wreck of old age. David shows us a hero and blind, begging in the street with a young child when one of his former soldiers, astonished. The setting is Antique, sober and overwhelming architecture is placed behind the depiction of harsh conditions and this shows that the artist wanted to associate Greek style with heroic themes in the context of the concerns of the artists time.
In the very composition of the work of David, the essence of the tableau juxtaposes several rococo ideas, the neo-classical perspective can still be found, especially in the ideas behind this painting, a revolutionary offers a meditation on the moral heroism in adversity
The Funeral Games of Patroclus
The Funeral Games of Patroclus is a 1778 fresco by Jacques-Louis David. It shows the games for Patroclus during Trojan War, with his body and Achilles at the foot of the pyre. It was first exhibited at the Palazzo Mancini in Rome in September 1778 and it was lost until 1972, when it was acquired by the National Gallery of Ireland, its present home. Régis Michel et Marie-Catherine Sahut, lart et le politique, Gallimard, « Découvertes »,1988, p. s 12,21,23 Prperatory drawing - Louvre
Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history, the causes of the French Revolution are complex and are still debated among historians. Following the Seven Years War and the American Revolutionary War, the French government was deeply in debt, Years of bad harvests leading up to the Revolution inflamed popular resentment of the privileges enjoyed by the clergy and the aristocracy. Demands for change were formulated in terms of Enlightenment ideals and contributed to the convocation of the Estates-General in May 1789, a central event of the first stage, in August 1789, was the abolition of feudalism and the old rules and privileges left over from the Ancien Régime. The next few years featured political struggles between various liberal assemblies and right-wing supporters of the intent on thwarting major reforms. The Republic was proclaimed in September 1792 after the French victory at Valmy, in a momentous event that led to international condemnation, Louis XVI was executed in January 1793.
External threats closely shaped the course of the Revolution, popular agitation radicalised the Revolution significantly, culminating in the rise of Maximilien Robespierre and the Jacobins. Large numbers of civilians were executed by revolutionary tribunals during the Terror, after the Thermidorian Reaction, an executive council known as the Directory assumed control of the French state in 1795. The rule of the Directory was characterised by suspended elections, debt repudiations, financial instability, persecutions against the Catholic clergy, dogged by charges of corruption, the Directory collapsed in a coup led by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1799. The modern era has unfolded in the shadow of the French Revolution, almost all future revolutionary movements looked back to the Revolution as their predecessor. The values and institutions of the Revolution dominate French politics to this day, the French Revolution differed from other revolutions in being not merely national, for it aimed at benefiting all humanity.
Globally, the Revolution accelerated the rise of republics and democracies and it became the focal point for the development of all modern political ideologies, leading to the spread of liberalism, nationalism, socialism and secularism, among many others. The Revolution witnessed the birth of total war by organising the resources of France, historians have pointed to many events and factors within the Ancien Régime that led to the Revolution. Over the course of the 18th century, there emerged what the philosopher Jürgen Habermas called the idea of the sphere in France. A perfect example would be the Palace of Versailles which was meant to overwhelm the senses of the visitor and convince one of the greatness of the French state and Louis XIV. Starting in the early 18th century saw the appearance of the sphere which was critical in that both sides were active. In France, the emergence of the public sphere outside of the control of the saw the shift from Versailles to Paris as the cultural capital of France.
In the 1750s, during the querelle des bouffons over the question of the quality of Italian vs, in 1782, Louis-Sébastien Mercier wrote, The word court no longer inspires awe amongst us as in the time of Louis XIV
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres was a French Neoclassical painter. A man profoundly respectful of the past, he assumed the role of a guardian of orthodoxy against the ascendant Romantic style represented by his nemesis. His exemplars, he explained, were the great masters which flourished in that century of glorious memory when Raphael set the eternal. I am thus a conservator of good doctrine, and not an innovator, Ingres was born in Montauban, Tarn-et-Garonne, the first of seven children of Jean-Marie-Joseph Ingres and his wife Anne Moulet. From his father the young Ingres received early encouragement and instruction in drawing and music, and his first known drawing, the deficiency in his schooling would always remain for him a source of insecurity. In 1791, Joseph Ingres took his son to Toulouse, where the young Jean-Auguste-Dominique was enrolled in the Académie Royale de Peinture, Sculpture et Architecture, there he studied under the sculptor Jean-Pierre Vigan, the landscape painter Jean Briant, and the neoclassical painter Guillaume-Joseph Roques.
Roques veneration of Raphael was an influence on the young artist. Ingres won prizes in several disciplines, such as composition and antique and his musical talent was developed under the tutelage of the violinist Lejeune, and from the ages of thirteen to sixteen he played second violin in the Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse. Ingres followed his masters neoclassical example but revealed, according to David and his trip to Rome, was postponed until 1806, when the financially strained government finally appropriated the travel funds. Working in Paris alongside several other students of David in a provided by the state. He found inspiration in the works of Raphael, in Etruscan vase paintings, in 1802 he made his debut at the Salon with Portrait of a Woman. The following year brought a commission, when Ingres was one of five artists selected to paint full-length portraits of Napoleon Bonaparte as First Consul. These were to be distributed to the towns of Liège, Dunkerque, Brussels. In the summer of 1806 Ingres became engaged to Marie-Anne-Julie Forestier, although he had hoped to stay in Paris long enough to witness the opening of that years Salon, in which he was to display several works, he reluctantly left for Italy just days before the opening.
Chaussard condemned Ingress style as gothic and asked, with so much talent, a line so flawless, the answer is that he wanted to do something singular, something extraordinary. M. Ingress intention is nothing less than to make art regress by four centuries, to carry us back to its infancy, Ingres stylistic eclecticism represented a new tendency in art. As art historian Marjorie Cohn has written, At the time and critics outdid each other in their attempts to identify and exploit what they were just beginning to perceive as historical stylistic developments. From the beginning of his career, Ingres freely borrowed from earlier art, adopting the style appropriate to his subject
Psyche Abandoned is a c.1795 painting by Jacques-Louis David, and is now in a private collection. It shows Psyche abandoned by Cupid as a female nude in profile against a blue sky. Vertical in format, it represents Davids early style and shows his approach to the nude to be different from the academic canons. A painted study of Psyche appears on three of Davids lists of his own work as a pendant to The Vestal Virgin, long thought lost, it was rediscovered in 1991 and exhibited in the 2010 Louvre exhibition L’Antiquité rêvée. René Verbraeken, Jacques-Louis David jugé par ses contemporains et la postérité, Paris, Léonce Laget,1973
The Vestal Virgin (David)
The Vestal Virgin is a painting by Jacques-Louis David. Its date is unknown, but Antoine Schnapper estimates it between 1784 and 1787,1787 being the year given for it in the 1803 Lespinasse sale catalogue. Sophie Monneret suggests 1783, the year as Andromache Mourning Hector. It is a half length study of a virgin and was rediscovered in 1909. Its attribution to David was contested by Gaston Brière, Klaus Holma and Louis Hautecœur, Antoine Schnapper supported David as its artist by looking at the paintings treatment of the figures hand and robe. Since the 1980s it has been in a collection in the USA
The Last Moments of Michel Lepeletier
The Last Moments of Michel Lepeletier, The Death of Lepeletier de Saint-Fargeau or Lepeletier on his Deathbed was a 1793 painting by Jacques-Louis David. Those two paintings and The Death of Young Bara formed a series devoted to martyrs of the French Revolution and it was removed in 1795 and entrusted to the artist, who still owned it on his death in Brussels. It was sold by his family to the subjects daughter Louise Suzanne de Mortefontaine, after that sale it disappeared and most probably Louise destroyed it and as many engravings after it as possible in order to erase any trace of her fathers part in the Revolution. It is only known through a drawing by Anatole Desvosge and an engraving by Tardieu which partially escaped destruction, aristide Déy, Histoire de la ville et du comté de Saint-Fargeau, Perriquet et Rouillé,1856