Most Representative Painting from Neoclassicism

Jacques-Louis David - Oath of HorattiThe Oath of Horatii is one of the best known examples of the Neoclassicism era. Painted by Jacques Louis David, it was considered to be the ideal of the new school of art. A style based on the ideas of a return to the classical. This painting was finished in 1785.

The painting portrays the Horatii brothers swearing their allegiance to the state while their father holds swords high for them to grasp.

The Oath of Horatii was commissioned from the Comte Dangiviller, supervisor of all architectural building under Louis the XVI. He wanted a painting based on Corneilles play, Horace, which at the time was performing in Paris. David began painting the Oath of Horatii in Paris, but felt that he needed the ambiance of Rome to finish this work. When the painting was first exhibited in Rome in 1885, it was considered to be a sensation, and was associated with the need to cry for the French Revolution, which was declared four years later.

The structured lines of the painting demonstrate how David stayed away from the delicate, feminine lines of Louis the XVI. Every line and color is minimalist and there are no unneeded brush strokes or anything that might denote femininity. The colors are well balanced, though kept to a minimum and even the clothing is made to denote patriotism.

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