The visual imagery of David’s painting supports his call for a democratic republic of the people in France. When the viewer’s eye approaches the art work, it is drawn to the swords held by an aged father to his young and strong sons. Their arms extend in a Roman salute (another mark of Republican values) to the sword, and the angled stance of their bodies with firm and muscular limbs create a symmetry to stress the central importance of the oath. David also employs chiaroscuro, the opposition of light and dark, to create the illusion that the swords are supplying the light for the painting. The swords, projecting the light of democracy and individual duty to uphold the interests of the public, dominate the painting; and they (not to mention the men swearing the oaths) are emphasized in the foreground to stress their importance. David’s artistic technique even... [continues]
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