Oath of the Horatii


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The Oath of the Horatii by Jacques Louis David
oil on canvas, 10' 10" x 13' 11"; 1784; Musee du Louvre, Paris

The Roman historian Livy tells a story of he wars between the very young city of Rome and the Italian city of Alba. They have decided that the dispute between the cities will be decided by champions - the three HOratii brothers and the three Curiatii brothers. One of the sisters of teh Curiatii is married to one of the HOratii and one of the Horatii sisters is bethrothed to one of the Curatii brothers. The three Horatii brothers swear swear an oath between the hands of their father to fight for Rome, while the women weep. The nobility of their sacrifice, their love of country and the placing of their personal concerns below their duty make it a perfect Neoclassic theme for David.

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The Oath of the Horatii
by Jacques Louis David