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The Death of Socrates - Assignment Example

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“The Death of Socrates” was completed in 1784 by Jacques-Louis David. David’s painting is a fine example of academic art which was a prevalent form in his day and age. The work was commissioned by the Tredaine de Montigny brothers, both of whom were active supporters of open public discussions and the free market system. This work of David’s would, ultimately, become an image of inspiration during the French Revolution.("Boston College") Academic artists rely on some very specific elements in order to qualify within the discipline. Firstly, it must contain historical relevance. The major subject of the work must contain a “sense of universal experience” within heroic terms; and nothing is allowed to distract from the subject or events that are being represented.(Goldstein 103) Socrates was a man of differing ideals and inspiring orations that earned him the accusations of being disruptive and of corrupting the Grecian youth. He was, ultimately, put on trial for this “crime” and found to be guilty. He was given the option of banishment or death by the consumption of hemlock. He accepts death rather than give up his principles. ...
There are six people on either side of the philosopher. This includes the three individuals, one of which is Socrates’ wife, that are exiting up the distant stairs. The balance uses perspective that prevents the small, confining cell space from becoming overcrowded and helps keep the overall focus upon the main subject. The use of the neutral brown wood and gray stone has little texture, the majority of texture, as well as, color come from the people presented. Blue, rust, and yellow fabric is being worn repeatedly throughout the work, including by those exiting on the stairs. This retains the connected nature of everyone in the work. After all, in this style nothing can detract from the subject. This color continuity guarantees the perception that everyone is there or was there because of Socrates. The people on the stairs are not mistaken for people visiting another condemned prisoner. The only other character present that is even remotely distinguishable from the rest is, Plato, who is, also, wearing white robes. However, his robes remain more heavily shadowed. The light does not reflect as brightly upon his robes nor upon his skin as it does upon his mentor. Unity is extremely important within academic art, as well as, relevant in any piece of art. Unity is responsible for achieving an air of commonality within the end result and provides a sense of harmony of all the elements present.(Jirousek ) We know that all the individuals in “The Death of Socrates” belong there. We can look upon the environment and wardrobe and we accept that a moment of Grecian history has been captured. Everything appears and feels right. The intended function of the work and the artist’s purpose in creating it plays a huge role in the overall unity of the piece, as well. ...Show more
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Summary

There is a unique sense of balance in “The Death of Socrates.” There is an equality among both sides of the work using Socrates and the infamous cup of Hemlock as the center or fulcrum point. There are six people on either side of the philosopher. …
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