Jacques-Louis David is classified as the epitome of Neoclassical art.

Jacques-Louis David is classified as the epitome of Neoclassical art.  However, his painting The Death of Marat is undeniably an example of Romanticism.  Your task is to compare and contrast the Romantic style of David’s The Death of Marat with another of David’s Neoclassical paintings of your choice (you can use one from the slide presentation or search for another on your own: there are a lot out there!).  Historical data is not necessary for this essay: this is another “tell me what you see” critique, using the knowledge you have acquired in deciphering artwork in this class. You will be able to use this assignment as part of your final project.

Unit 5 topic:

The start of the 18th century in Western civilizations is marked with the Industrial Revolution, as well as the Revolutions fought in the United States and France for political freedoms.  The Age of Enlightenment takes a dramatic turn in philosophy, scientific approach, and the pursuit of intellectual rationalities over religious superstition, declaring society’s role as protector of human rights against the tyrants of royalty, industrialism, and religious absolutes.


  • Investigate how new advances in societal structures (such as democracy, industry and logic) placed artistic focus on rational order and thought, and discover how the artwork illustrates the desire to control the forces of nature.
  • Distinguish tendencies of the Neoclassical artistic movement from that of the late Baroque, and see how the trend of creating art to glorify the privileged and the elite was replaced with a more logical approach to images representing modern ways of thinking.
  • Compare logistic order of the Neoclassicists to emotional intuition of the Romantics.
  • Explore power in the art created as a reaction to the ugliness of war, a societal virus that spread throughout Europe after the Revolutions for freedoms failed to reform.
  • Discover masterpieces emerging from the New World, where American artists were using the idealized landscape as the language to express freedom, emotion, and earthly beauty akin to Eden.

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