The Death of Bara (1794) by Jacques-Louis David

The Death of Bara - Jacques-Louis David - 1794

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Artwork Information

TitleThe Death of Bara
ArtistJacques-Louis David
Dimensions119 x 156 cm
Art MovementNeoclassicism
Current LocationMusée Calvet, Avignon, France

About The Death of Bara

“The Death of Bara” is an oil on canvas painting by Jacques-Louis David, completed in the year 1794. It is a prime example of the Neoclassicism art movement and serves as a history painting. The artwork measures 119 by 156 centimeters and currently resides in the Musée Calvet located in Avignon, France.

The artwork captures a poignant moment immortalizing the young revolutionary martyr Joseph Bara. It depicts the lifeless body of Bara, a drummer boy for the French Revolutionary army, lying on the ground, assumedly after being killed by the Vendéan rebels. His nudity is not only symbolic of vulnerability and innocence but also evokes the classical tradition of depicting heroic figures. Bara’s peaceful and almost serene expression contrasts with the brutality of his death, suggesting a romanticization of sacrifice for one’s country. The earthy tones and the diffused, subtle treatment of light contribute to the solemn atmosphere of the scene, while the empty, stormy landscape emphasizes the isolation of the tragic event. David’s portrayal of Bara reflects the revolutionary ideals of heroism and martyrdom, effectively conveying the tragic beauty and emotional gravity of the subject.

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