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The Painter-Ideologue of French Revolution - Essay Example

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In the essay “The Painter-Ideologue of French Revolution” the author focuses on Louis Davis who is described by art historians as the painter-ideologue of the French revolution. His painting, ‘Death of Marat’ has a moralizing message embedded in it…
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The Painter-Ideologue of French Revolution
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A member of the rival political faction had stabbed him to death when he was having his medicinal bath to cope with his long-term skin disease that he fell prey to while hiding from the King’s soldiers Paris’s sewer. (Kleiner, 2008, p.769).
David has used a simple and clear style in this painting. He has intentionally avoided the Macabre and presented Marat as a romantic tragic hero. The pen and paper in his hands remind the onlooker that he was deeply engrossed in his service to revolution as a writer right up to his last breath. The face of Marat is painted as suffering from pain, still full of grace. In his hands, there is a petition that either the assassin brought with her or he was preparing for some poor unfortunate person, to get assistance from a widow of a martyr of the revolution. All this attention given to details raises the virtues of the deceased in the eyes of the beholder. The skin problems that Marat suffered from were intentionally avoided in the painting.
In his early years as a painter, David had followed the Rococo style of painting which was considered trendy in those days. But after seeing the renaissance period Greek paintings while he was studying in Rome, he renounced the decorative style of Rococo as “artificial” and “exalted the “perfect form” of Greek art” (Kleiner, 2008, p.769). Art historians have pointed to the resemblance of this painting to the depiction of Christ in Michelangelo’s Pieta’ (Kleiner, 2008, p.769). The arms that are hanging down in both paintings have a similarity un-surpassed by even the eyes of a person with the least training in understanding art. This likeness has remained a major source of controversy regarding the ideological positions reflected in this painting.
B) “The architecture of the United States can be read as a textbook of history” ( Steele, p.35)
It was in the late 1700s and early 1800s that the newly formed independent nation of the United States of America built its grand official buildings adopting the neoclassical style. The new nation had wanted to become like Athens, which was the beacon of ancient democracy and this was the main reason behind choosing greek architecture. Steele has argued that the United States, like any other new world powers, was effectively “appropriating authority” using “architectural forms and symbols” (Steele, p.35). Also, in that period, neo classic style of architecture was associated with values such as freedom, justice and human rights (Steele, p.35). So, adopting this style was an effort to convey the values of the nation to the rest of the world (Steele, p.35). Neoclassical buildings of the United States are also considered as images of stability, equality, and innovation (Steele, p.35)
Symmetrical shape, tall columns that rise to the height of the building, triangular pediment and domed roof are some of the prominent features of neo-classical architecture. A good example of all these can be seen in the structure of the White House. The White House (2009) website has proclaimed that though renovated many times, the basic form and shape of the White House building are retained through two centuries. The White House (2009) website also has stated that oval office which was built in 1909 is a mix of baroque, neoclassical and Georgian styles of architecture, the President’s study was built in Victorian style and the porticos were influenced by an 1817 Chateau’ de Rastignac in France.
References
Kleiner, F 2008, ‘Gardner’s art through the ages: A global history, Cengage Learning EMEA, pp. 769.
Steele, J 2008 ‘Architecture as a reflection of evolving culture’ in Architecture: Celebrating the past, designing the future, Solomon. NB & Ivey. R, Visual Reference Publication.
The White House 2009, The White House, Washington D.C, viewed on 28 July 2009, http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/ Read More
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