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Neoclassicism

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NEOCLASSICISM
Mary Williams520
American Intercontinental University
April 20, 2013

Abstract
This paper is to contrast and compare three works of art, showing their similarities. This is in an effort to evaluate and analyze the artwork.

Neoclassicism As the French revolution began in 1789, the French Court’s luxurious life ended quite suddenly. The French court society ended and was transformed quite suddenly. Taste changed along with the social structure. Jacques-Louis David, a painter was an artist that was instrumental in change and led the way to the revolutions in the way of art and politics. He believed that art should serve a beneficial social purpose during social and governmental reform (Frank, 2011). David was a French painter in neoclassical style and considered to be the premier painter of his era. When David painted “The Oath of Horatii” he began a style of art called Neoclassicism which is an emulation of Greek and Roman art. The Oath of Horatii is about virtue and the willingness to die for liberty. This work is oil on canvas painting created in 1784. David was commissioned by the Administrator of Royal Residences. The painting is of three brothers from Roman legend. The scene is of them saluting their loyalty and patriotism before waging war against the Curatii brothers representing Alba Longa, settling a conflict between the states. One sister were engaged to one of the Curatii brothers and wept when she got the news that he had been killed. When her brother Publius heard of this he stabbed his sister stating “So parish any Roman woman who mourns the enemy”. This art work is the first masterpiece of a new style. The figures are life size which is arranged in a frieze in the foreground. Large empty spaces separate the figures. The mother and sisters are at the bottom right of the painting stricken with fear for their lives (Aaron, undefined). The artist has emphasized the room’s geometry and harsh lights that slant give the figures relief. The second piece of art is also by David, “The Death of Socrates”. At the height of popularity he and a close circle of friends wanted political reform. David painted this piece in 1787. It was commissioned by the Trudaine de Montigny brothers who were active in the call for a free market. The Death of Socrates shows the last moments of his life, condemned to death or exile for his teaching methods which aroused skepticism. He rejected exile and chose to die. David and his friends discussed the importance of this picture. The Death of Socrates was compared to the Horatii and Brutus as a father figure (www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/his/CoreArt/art/neocl_dav_soc.html). Like other pictures he created during this decade, this painting focused on classical subject. The third selection is from Francisco Goya. Goya created work that criticized the society and political problems of his era. One of his quotes are “The object of my work is to report the actuality of events”. Once the Napoleonic armies were expelled Goya applied for and received aid in order to capture the most notable and historic scenes of the insurrection against the Europe. He painting “The Second of May 1808: The Change of the Mamelukes”. In the painting it shows anonymous acts of bravery in the face of defeat. The citizens armed with knives attack a group of mounted Egyptian soldiers. There is no focal point of any specific action; however it displays a vivid impression of actuality (http://www.wga.hu/frames-e.html?/html/g/goya/7/713goya.html). A French painter by the name of Jacques-Louis David painted two of the paintings that I will be talking about one is “The Oath of Horatii” the other is “The Death of Socrates”. David Oath of Horatii is oil on canvas painting. This painting is sworn on three swords by three brothers who are the sons of Horatius. The three brothers swore to defend Rome against city-state Alba Longa. Fighting the Curlatii. The Horatii brothers were willing to risk their lives in a fight for the safety and continuation of Roman Republic. David’s composition technique are baroque bound with the use of the classic and historical subject. The style of his technique enforces the story. When approaching the art work the eyes of the viewer are drawn to the swords David’s painting The Oath of the Horatii calls for political revolution in France and the visual imagery of the painting supported the call for democratic republic of the people.
The painting in 1787 the “Death of Socrates” represents his last few minutes before his death. Condemned to death or exile he chose death. The intent when the painting was created was to push for political change. In this painting while he reaches for a cup he continues to speak. Socrates was a philosopher and a teacher of the youth. He was condemned for atheism or not believing in the god that were recognized by the Athenians and corrupting the youth (.https://sites.google.com/site/jacqueslouisdavidlifeandworks/the-death-of-socrates). As he faces death he shows his indifference to death because of his commitment to his ideas. The outer the cell symbolizes the outer world where unfairness and darkness dominate. His posture is straight as he sits without support for his back. Socrates was ready to devote his life for his belief.
The Second of May 1808 created 1814 by Francisco Goya is oil on canvas done after the expulsion after the war. Goya continued to paint a series of eighty five pieces of art showing the atrocities of war. Probably not present during the charge. Goya portrayed the citizens as unknown heroes using the crudest of weapons to attack the army. Unpleasing to the king the paintings were not hung in public until later. The painting is a battle in the street between French and Spaniards. Colors of pastel blues, pink and browns there is also crimson. This painting was produced during a period of public corning for the victims of the riots.

References
Aaron Art Prints, The Oath of the Horatii, undefined, retrieved from http://www.aaronartprints.org/david-theoathofthehoratii.php Patrick, F., Prebles’ Artforms: An Introduction to the Visual Arts, Tenth Edition, 2011, Pearson,
Jacques-Louis David ‘s Life and Works, n.d, .retrieved from https://sites.google.com/site/jacqueslouisdavidlifeandworks/the-death-of-socrates The Death of Socrates, undefined, retrieved from http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/his/CoreArt/art/neocl_dav_soc.html
Francisco de Goya. (2013). The Biography Channel website. Retrieved 11:08, Apr 21, 2013, from http://www.biography.com/people/francisco-de-goya-9317129.
Web Gallery of ART, retrieved April 21,2013 from http://www.wga.hu/frames-e.html?/html/g/goya/7/713goya.html

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