Thursday, 30 August 2012

Jacques-Louis David and The Oath of the Horatii (detail)

'The Oath of the Horatii' (detail) (1784); Musée du Louvre, Paris

Today's artist is Jacques-Louis David, born on 30 August 1748, the most influential painter of the Neoclassical movement in France. He received his first training from François Boucher, a distant relative, and continued to study under Joseph-Marie Vien. He became frustrated when he failed the competition for the Prix de Rome, an art scholarship to study at the French Academy in Rome, several times. His fifth attempt was finally succesful and he went to Rome with Vien in 1775. He returned to Paris in 1780 and established his position as an opponent of the Rococo movement. David was politically very active and a supporter of the French Revolution and Robespierre. He was also an ardent supporter of Napoleon and was able to keep his social and artistic position during Napoleon's reign. So apart from being famous for his art, there is more to remember him by but not all in a positive way. For further reading, please click on the painter's link above. Probably David's most famous painting is The Death of Marat, a painting of the French revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat who was found stabbed to death in his bathtub. I would recommend to read more about this painting because it is very interesting and historical. The painting that I have chosen for today, The Oath of the Horatii, is also very famous. You can click here to see it in full. The reason why I have decided to post only a fragment is because every time that I see an image of this painting, my eyes get drawn to the right where the women are seated. They are weeping and awaiting the results of the fighthing between the brothers of the two families. It's too much to explain the painting's story in my own words so I want to refer you to the painting's link. I think the women are beautifully portrayed in their distress and I like the silk garments very much. One more note: David had a lot of pupils, amongst others Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres, yesterday's painter. He left behind a rich legacy and to be his pupil was considered to be prestigious.

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