Working towards a Bachelor the Arts, Simran writes write-ups on modern history, art theory, religion, mythology, and analyses of texts.

You are watching: Jacques-louis david’s painting the oath of the horatii is about

What Is the Oath of Haratii About?

David's oil painting captures the specifying moment once the young pledge an oath to fight come the death for their family and also Rome. The paint depicts a roman legend recounted through Roman chronicler Livy. The story speak of a political conflict in between a rivalling household near Alba and also the Romans. Chosen representative combatants were selected to work out the dispute. The Albans determined the Curatii as their representatives while the Romans determined the Horatii. The painting attributes the Horatii.

The ladies grieve in ~ the paint as the two family members are joined by marriage. Among the women is a daughter the the Curatii when the other, Camilla, is engaged to one of the Curatii brothers. At the end of the legend, the sole surviving Horatii brothers kills Camilla, that condemned his murder of she beloved, accusing Camilla of putting her sentiment over her duty come Rome.

The minute which must have actually preceded the battle, when the elder Horatius, collection his young in their household home, provides them make an oath to conquer or die.”

— Jacques-Louis David


Jacques-Louis David, Oath the the Horatii, oil ~ above canvas, 3.3 x 4.25m, commissioned by luigi XVI, painted in Rome, exhibited at the shop of 1785 (Musée du Louvre)

What Is Neoclassicism?

Neoclassicism to be the resurgence of a timeless style or therapy in art, literature, architecture, or music. Neoclassical artist utilised line and colour to emphasize the focal distance point, showing shadows, the curves of clothing, and also skin tone to develop realism. Regularly this incorporated Greek and Roman garments such as the tunic as represented in Jacques-Louis David’s, "The Oath of Horatii."

In the arts the way in i beg your pardon an idea is rendered, and also the manner in which it is expressed, is much much more important 보다 the idea itself.

— Jacques-Louis David

Neoclassicism to be the an outcome of the Enlightenment duration when the 17th and 18th centuries was emphasising reason and also individualism quite than tradition. Neoclassicists believed that art need to be cerebral, not sensual. Hence, Jacques-Louis David thought that artworks need to take a clear, delineated drawing and also modelling (shading). Moreover, the Neoclassical surface had actually to look perfect smooth without evidence of brush-strokes.

Neoclassicism and also Romanticism

David, Jacques-Louis


Self-portrait by Jacques-Louis David, oil top top canvas, 1794; in the Louvre, Paris.

Who to be Jacques-Louis David?

Nineteenth-century painter, Jacques-Louis David (born Aug. 30, 1748, Paris, France—died Dec. 29, 1825, Brussels, Belg.) was a revered artist due to his duty as a main figure that promoted the Neoclassical style, which to be a reaction versus the previous arts movement, the Rococo period. His most renowned works encompass "The fatality of Marat" and also "Napoleon crossing the Alps."


David's oil painting captures the defining moment when the young pledge an oath come fight to the death for your family and also for Rome. The daughter and daughter-in-law sit motionless behind the father as they address the reality that someone they love, either your brother or lover, will die soon. Even though the artwork portrays pain and also sorrow, it likewise promotes worths such together valour, sacrifice, morality, duty and also selfless service.

Close up of the brothers


The Horatii brothers (detail), Jacques-Louis David, Oath of the Horatii, oil ~ above canvas, 3.3 x 4.25m, i was delegated by luigi XVI, painted in Rome, showed at the salon of 1785 (Musée du Louvre)

The Brothers

As demonstrated through the figure’s poses and also the architectural layout. The floor create a stabilising impact as that diminishes in a perspective drawing to emphasize the arches that the building in the lift makes. As a result, the arcs suggests the isolation and also the family ties. The very first arch in the image is 2 Roman brothers composed to produce the model soldier. The attitude of the guys signifies security as both legs apart whilst one arm extended to loyalty.

This signifies the state that chivalry and also comradery as they pledge allegiance come the state and family through the Horatti brother's self-sacrifice. Their posture evokes concepts of determination, however showing up unambiguous through their stony profiles rather than the dynamism uncovered in romantic artworks, such together the Theodore Gericault's, "The Raft that Medusa." Furthermore, ideals the heroism is evoked with the Horrati brothers' fist to their father. These figures are created with stiff, geometric creates that comparison with the flowing, bent poses of the women.

Close increase of the father


The second Arch

The second arch depicts the father's heroic stresses about the commitment to the Republic. That holds swords to his sons to solemnly make, "The Oath the Haratti." Contrasting irradiate colours make the swords the focal distance point. The clinical light starkly contrasts through the heightened drama that the scene, through David inviting the audience to respond through a mixture of passion and rationality. This records a moment in the artist's life and also utilises the pyramid which signifies the balance and clear composition in the painting. Consequently, the artist provides the pyramid structure to violently create a passionate and chaotic atmosphere.

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Women (detail), Jacques-Louis David, Oath of the Horatii, oil top top canvas, 3.3 x 4.25m, commissioned by luigi XVI, painted in Rome, displayed at the salon of 1785 (Musée du Louvre)

What's shown in the 3rd Arch?

The third arch depicts Sabina Haratti leaning towards her sisters Camillia. Camillia is to be executed by her brother after traitorously lamenting the death of her lover. The women end up being the personification of grief and tragedy as Camilia and also Sabina are captured in a singular minute in time.


Neoclassicism ~ above the metropolitan Museum the Art's Heilbrunn Timeline of art History

Nicolas Poussin top top the urban Museum the Art's Heilbrunn Timeline of arts History