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Art History "Oath Of The Horatii"

1094 words - 4 pages

Jacques Louis David created The Oath of the Horatii on the eve of the French revolution in 1784. This painting uses a Neo-classical style in an illustration of a story form the pre-Republican Rome in 669 B.C. The Rome and Alban armies were at war and have decided to send two groups of three champions from each of the two cities to settle a dispute. This sending of champions instead of having the two cities armies fight against each other will save a lot of bloodshed. Whoever wins this gladiator style conflict between the two groups of three warriors will win the dispute between the two cities. The three valiant Horatii brothers have been called upon to defend the honor of Rome against the three sons of the Curatius family from the city of Alba. The women are upset because one of the sisters, Camilla, of Horatii is engaged to a Curatius fighter in the conflict. The women in the Horatius family are obviously upset because Camilla is either going to lose her brothers or her fiancé. The families are also intertwined due to the fact that one of the sisters of the Curiatii family, Sabina, is married to one of the Horatii brothers. Despite these family bonds between the two groups and the objections from the women the father of the Horatii?s proudly raises the swords and calls upon his sons to fight. The brothers eagerly raise their arms towards the swords proudly and with no apparent reservations answer Rome?s call to arms (Neo-Classicism and French Revolution).The emphasis of this painting is on the three different groups of people who represent two conflicting elements in the story. In the center of the painting Horatius the elder is calling upon his sons to fight for Rome with one arm raised holding three swords and the other gesturing. His bright red robe catches the viewer?s eye and his emphatic, muscular, and rigid body language makes him a strong and active role in the action. Horatius body and head are tilted slightly backwards giving the viewer the illusion that he is almost gazing up to the heavens and calling upon the Gods for three valiant saviors to serve Rome.The three brothers on the left side of the painting respond to their call to arms by their father with a youthful energy and a spontaneous show of strength in the form of raising their arms to take an oath. The three brother?s muscular arms and legs stand out in a straight and rigid fashion coinciding with the Neo-Classical value placed upon the ideal. The straight, parallel, and rigid lines formed by the brothers arms and legs gives the left side of the painting a strong geometric pattern that infers ones own reason and sense of duty must reign victorious over our selfish passions. The three brothers are also standing in a very close knit group, one brother even has his arm around another, showing their willingness to stand tall together as one to fight for Rome. The brother closest to the spectator?s perspective has a red shirt and bright white cape that grabs the viewer?s...

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