The Death of Socrates

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The Death of Socrates

Viewing the painting “The Death of Socrates” by Jacques-Louis David, one can perceive many different subject matters, both literally and metaphorically. The obvious is seen within the setting of the painting. The clear illustration of where the event is happening provides the onlooker with a glimpse into a different time and era. Conversely, the artist has taken the liberty to hide deep meaning inside the work of art through less apparent means. Symbolism through art work has endured from early works to contemporized ones, here is no different. Taking the two aforementioned into consideration gives us a glimpse into both the symbolic and factual significance of the occasion.

What we can term as the ‘Roman’ perspective is quite evident and alive within the painting titled “The Death of Socrates”. The setting of the incident and its surroundings are the easiest to point out. First of all, near the center of the painting you can see the Roman style lamp. This was a fixture in many Roman homes during the period. Moreover, in addition to the lamp you can also see that the hallway leading away from Socrates has the Romanesque arch. Further down the hallway you can see that the windows in the background also have the same type of arch in them that were present during the Roman Empire . Architecture in the painting has made its mark in accentuating the Roman scenery.

In this painting, there lies great understanding in the focal point of the painting seen within the noticeable light from above. The unknown source of the light is shining most brightly upon Socrates and spilling onto his disciples. However, considering that this would normally be a dark chamber, this light would tend to highlight him in an almost god-like quality. Much like a star in the sky or the spotlight of the stage, the lighting not only brings attention to the figure but gives it a certain implication of importance. Further accentuating his godliness is the way...
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