Oath of the Horatii

Oath of the Horatii – Jacques-Louis David

Oath of the Horatii by Jacques Louis David

Oath of the Horatii by Jacques Louis David was produced in 1784 and is considered to be one of the famous artworks of Renaissance Art movement. The work can be viewed now at The Louvre, Paris


Medium: Oil Painting 

Subject(s): death, honour, love


Oath of the Horatti is an oil painting produced in 1784 by French painter Jacques Louis David.

Oath of the Horatti is considered as one of the best-known paintings in the Neoclassical style by Jacques Louis David.

The picture depicts a scene of a dispute between two warring cities from a Roman legend, Rome and Alba Longa stress the importance of self-sacrifice, masculine and patriotism for one’s country. History tells us that instead of sending their armies to war the two cities agree to choose three men from their own each city, the man who won the fight will be regarded as the victorious man and victorious city. So, three brothers from a Roman family (namely the Horatii) agreed to fight with the three brothers from a family of Alba Longa (namely the Curiatii) resulting from the winner by the end of the war. The three brothers of Rome, willing to sacrifice their lives are shown in the picture, saluting their father who holds their swords out for them.

On the other hand, out of the three Horatii brothers, only one shall survive the confrontation. It was the only surviving brother from Rome who was able to kill the other three fighters from Alba Longa. He chases the three fighters till they separate from each other and then kills each of the Curiatii brothers separately. David, the painter also represents a woman crying whilst sitting down in the bottom right corner of the painting. Her name was Camilla who was a sister of the Horatii brothers who was married to one of the Curiatii fighters and thus she weeps in the realization that when the fight is over she will lose someone she loves.

When the royalty, the churchmen, and aristocrats went to view the picture, they eulogized it. The Pope expressed his desire to view The Oath of the Horatii. Jacques Louis David wanted the painting exhibited in the Salon but his enemies (at the Academy) took advantage of the picture and exhibit in a poor locale in the gallery.

The work can be viewed at Louvre in Paris.


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