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Death of Socrates ' by Jacques-Louis David

Essay by   •  April 18, 2012  •  Essay  •  623 Words (3 Pages)  •  2,446 Views

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Death of Socrates ' by Jacques-Louis David

The author of the painting The Death of Socrates, Jacques-Louis David, was born in a wealthy family of a Parisian merchant Then David became a student of a famous professor Joseph-Marie Vein, who had an excellent career of a good teacher and influenced the great young mind of the artist. Jacques-Louis David studied art in Vein's class at the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture. In his paintings David created a new cult of the civic virtues. Thus the artist attempted to pass his revolutionary ideas through his works and later he became known as the painter of revolution. Also the modern critics of art noted that David's paintings of `martyrs of the Revolution ' were devised as portraits, nevertheless, raised portraiture into the domain of the universal tragedy.

Behind every artwork lies a story which can be told. Each story told by the painting on the canvas or by the era in which it was created. For one to truly comprehend what message an artwork conveys, one must be familiar with the historical context from which it was taken. The meaning of the painting can only be derived from an understanding of the 18th century an era where the Enlightenment occurred and Neoclassicism flourished. The painting Death of Socrates ' was created during the 18th century

Using oil on canvas, David's Death of Socrates depicts the concluding moments of the life Surrounded by his grieving friends and students; the painting's location is a prison cell. Socrates is ready to drink the poison hemlock offered to him by one of his disciples in a cup. The philosopher's face reflects a great serenity, which highly contrasts with his disciple's attitudes before the unjust death of their master. There is one woman that can be seen grieving alone outside the chamber dismissed for her weakness. The painting is starkly dark and the intense grief and remorse of Socrates ' students over the injustice done to their teacher consume the whole picture

The controversy of the painting lays in the opposition of death and life, self-control and the state of being emotionally overwhelmed, evil and good, true and wrong. The main idea of the picture - the victory of mind over death - is brightly expressed with the help of the setting distribution of light and dark. The different reasons for why Socrates chose to accept a punishment of death rather than attempt to use the opportunities given him to avoid the death penalty. Also my analysis of the picture will comprise the following characters : Socrates himself , the characters of philosopher 's friends and disciples , the wife of Socrates In addition , I will set the historical background for my analysis and provide it with the necessary proofs and quotations from the reliable sources.

He reaches for the poison high in a glass to show that he believes it is his time to go; his

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