The Death Of Socrates : Painting By Jacques Louis David

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The work of art that I chose is The Death of Socrates, painted by Jacques Louis David in 1787 and exposed at the MET. This painting is oil on canvas. In person, it looks much bigger than I expected; in fact, it measures almost 1.3 meters in height, and almost 2 meters in length. The colors are a little dull, especially in the areas far away from Socrates, who is the focal point of the painting. Through a detailed work of colors, lights and shadows, the emphasis is put on Socrates and on his followers close to him. As suggested by the description next to the artwork, David painted his piece shortly before the French Revolution. Through the painting, David wanted to send a message to the French people, encouraging them to resist against unjust authority. The work depicts Socrates’s death (399 B.C.), one of the most influential Greek philosophers of all times. He is sentenced to death by the Athenian courts for the crime of holding disdainful affirmations and behavior towards the gods. Socrates is pictured as he is about to drink from a cup of poison, meanwhile he is giving his last lesson to his followers, explaining the principle of soul immortality. Socrates is portrayed as a man in his fifties (even though he was approximately thirty when he died) with white hair and beard. He’s wearing a white robe, which is open on his torso and on his right leg, and is coiled around his left arm. With his right hand, he approaches the bowl containing the poison, while, with his left
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