Jacques-Louis David’s neoclassical painting, The Oath of the Horatii, depicts a historical event where three Roman brothers pledge an oath to their father before fighting against three brothers from rival city Alba Longa, known as the Curiatii. Displayed at the Salon of 1785, it became an instant success and is currently on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris.
The painting represents personal sacrifice for an ideal and is often interpreted in the context of the French Revolution. It displays restrained emotion and order, embodying classical tragedy and ancient sculpture. David masterfully captures the moment when the sons solemnly swear loyalty to Rome before their ultimate sacrifice for their family’s honour.
As one of David’s most famous works, The Oath of Horatii’s historical significance makes it an exceptional representation of neoclassical art. Its message about duty over personal desires resonates with many cultures worldwide.