Art: Story Picture

The paintings of Jacques Louis David carry the insignia of that austere and serious age which, now ignorantly identified with the flippancies of a decadent court, preceded and precipitated the French Revolution. Large somber canvases, they exclude flippancy and tell, with a dignified and almost Alexandrine rhythm, the most ennobling dramas of classical history—The Rape of the Sabines, Leonidas at Thermopylae, The Oath of the Horatii, Brutus, The Grief of Andromache and, most somber and perhaps imposing of all, the Death of Socrates—called, by Sir Joshua Reynolds, ''the greatest effort of...

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