Jacques Louis David invented a style reflecting Enlightenment ideas by looking back to ancient art. He became a revolutionary and 1st painter to Napoleon.

Neo-Classicism

Jacques Louis David invented a style reflecting Enlightenment ideas by looking back to ancient art. He became a revolutionary and 1st painter to Napoleon.
Article
Neoclassicism, an introduction
5:48
David, Oath of the Horatii
Jacques-Louis David, Oath of the Horatii, oil on canvas, 1784 (Musée du Louvre)
Article
David, Oath of the Horatii
Exercise
David's Oath of the Horatii Quiz
This quiz is for the video David, Oath of the Horatii.
4:14
David, The Lictors Returning to Brutus the Bodies of His Sons
Jacques-Louis David, The Lictors Returning to Brutus the Bodies of His Sons, 1789, oil on canvas, 10' 7-1/8" x 13' 10-1/8" or 3.23 x 4.22m (Musée du Louvre, Paris) Speakers: Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker
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David, Study for The Lictors Bringing Brutus the Bodies of his Sons
Met curator Perrin Stein on subjectivity in Jacques-Louis David’s Study for The Lictors Bringing Brutus the Bodies of his Sons, 1787. This sheet is a compositional study for The Lictors Bringing Brutus the Bodies of his Sons (Musée du Louvre, Paris), painted by David on the eve of the French Revolution and exhibited shortly after the Fall of the Bastille. As with many of his iconic Neoclassical canvases, the subject was drawn from Roman history but found great resonance in the context of contemporary events. The canvas depicts an episode from the life of Lucius Junius Brutus, who put to an end the brutal régime of Tarquin, Rome’s last king, and established the first Roman Empire, only to later find his two sons embroiled in a royalist conspiracy. True to his political convictions, Brutus condemned his sons to death. The novelty of David’s painting is its focus, not on the executions, but on the wrenching domestic aftermath. David’s Neoclassical style is fully formed here and can be seen in the clean geometry of the architectural setting, the arrangement of the figures in a relief-like plane, the linear treatment of the forms, and the cool monochrome palette. The poses of the main figures, from the brooding Brutus cast in shadow at the left, to his anguished wife and daughters to the right, as well as the furniture and accessories, are all based on antiquities copied by the artist while he was a student in Rome. View this work on metmuseum.org.  Are you an educator? Here's a related lesson plan. For additional educator resources from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, visit Find an educator resource. 
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Jacques-Louis David, The Death of Marat
Jacques-Louis David, The Death of Marat, 1793, oil on canvas, 65 x 50-1/2 inches (Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels) Speakers: Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker
Article
David and The Death of Marat
4:27
David, The Intervention of the Sabine Women
Jacques-Louis David, The Intervention of the Sabine Women, 1799, Oil on canvas, 12 feet, 8 inches x 17 feet and 3/4 of an inch or 3.85 x 5.22 m (Musée du Louvre, Paris) Speakers: Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker   At this juncture the Sabine women, from the outrage on whom the war originated,  with hair dishevelled and garments rent, the timidity of their sex being overcome  by such dreadful scenes, had the courage to throw themselves amid the flying  weapons, and making a rush across, to part the incensed armies, and assuage their  fury; imploring their fathers on the one side, their husbands on the other, "that as  fathers-in-law and sons-in-law they would not contaminate each other with impious  blood, nor stain their offspring with parricide, the one their grandchildren, the other  their children. If you are dissatisfied with the affinity between you, if with our  marriages, turn your resentment against us; we are the cause of war, we of wounds  and of bloodshed to our husbands and parents. It were better that we perish than  live widowed or fatherless without one or other of you." The silence affects both the multitudes and the leaders. Silence and sudden suspension ensue. Upon this the leaders come forward in order to concert a treaty, and they not only conclude a peace, but form one state out of two.  Livy, The History of Rome tranlated by D. Spillan, London: Bohn, 1849: book 1, section 13,  page 19
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David, Napoleon Crossing the Alps
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Kauffmann, Cornelia Presenting Her Children as Her Treasures
2:49
Girodet, The Sleep of Endymion
Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson, The Sleep of Endymion, 1791, oil on canvas, 1.98 x 2.61m (6 feet 5-¾ inches x 8 feet 6-¾ inches), exhibited in the salons of 1793 and 1814 (Musée du Louvre, Paris) Speakers: Drs. Beth Harris and Steven Zucker
Article
Canova, Repentant Magdalene
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Canova, Paolina Borghese as Venus Victorius
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Vignon, Church of La Madeleine
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Soufflot, The Panthéon, Paris
Exercise
Neoclassicism
Test your knowledge!
Article
David, The Emperor Napoleon in his Study at the Tuileries
Essay by Dr. Bryan Zygmont