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Painted History - Essay Example

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The painting particularly focused on a classical subject where Socrates was supposedly being punished by execution for having…
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Painted History
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Painted History

Download file to see previous pages... With regard to the historical context of the painting, the Death of Socrates painting was completed just a few years before the French revolution. It is arguable that the iconic piece of art may have been particularly inspired by the socio-political climate that existed in France at the time of its commission. For example, this was the period when the calls for reforms were increasingly heating up and, therefore, David may have chosen the neoclassical subject as a means advancing the call for self sacrifice and commitment to ideals in the face of oppression and death just like Socrates did (Vidal 596).
The painting also portrays the message of martyrdom as Socrates was considered to be a martyr for his ideals and beliefs. However, for the contemporaries of the time, the painting could have been a reflection of the number of political prisoners who were faced with execution of exile. The corrupt French monarchy of the time had also just crushed the earlier attempts to reforms before eventually dissolving the Assembly of Notables in 1787.
Additionally, during the painting of “The death of Socrates”, the artist Jacques-Louis David may also have wanted to reflect the Enlightenment values of the late 18th century that particularly emphasized on the importance of human freedom from religion and corrupt regimes as well as the value of standing up for ideals, rights and principles. Most of these concepts were clearly illustrated in the story of the death of Socrates. David was a strong supporter of reforms and revolutionary principles. Consequently, on the eve of the French revolution, the painting served a call for resistance and duty in the face of unjust authority.
This is a picture of people viewing another picture. The painting particularly shows people viewing an enormous picture of Napoleon during the crowning of Empress Josephine. The picture “David’s Coronation at the Louvre” was exhibited on several occasions at the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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