Art History "Oath Of The Horatii"

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Jacques Louis David created The Oath of the Horatii on the eve of the French revolution in 1784. This painting uses a Neo-classical style in an illustration of a story form the pre-Republican Rome in 669 B.C. The Rome and Alban armies were at war and have decided to send two groups of three champions from each of the two cities to settle a dispute. This sending of champions instead of having the two cities armies fight against each other will save a lot of bloodshed. Whoever wins this gladiator style conflict between the two groups of three warriors will win the dispute between the two cities. The three valiant Horatii brothers have been called upon to defend the honor of Rome against the three sons of the Curatius family from the city of Alba. The women are upset because one of the sisters, Camilla, of Horatii is engaged to a Curatius fighter in the conflict.

The women in the Horatius family are obviously upset because Camilla is either going to lose her brothers or her fiancé. The families are also intertwined due to the fact that one of the sisters of the Curiatii family, Sabina, is married to one of the Horatii brothers. Despite these family bonds between the two groups and the objections from the women the father of the Horatii?s proudly raises the swords and calls upon his sons to fight. The brothers eagerly raise their arms towards the swords proudly and with no apparent reservations answer Rome?s call to arms (Neo-Classicism and French Revolution).

The emphasis of this painting is on the three different groups of people who represent two conflicting elements in the story. In the center of the painting Horatius the elder is calling upon his sons to fight for Rome with one arm...