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The Death of Socrates done by Jacque-Louis David in 1787 is one of many monumental paintings of the 18th century However it can be classed as one of the most unique for its iconological value and intrinsic meaning With notable influences from neoclassical style and the enlightenment as well as the way in which Socrates is portrayed we receive a specific image of Davids beliefs and the cultural and political atmosphere of the time During the 18th century the artistic approach for most artists was the use of famous literary works and events in history as inspiration for their paintings This neoclassical style was based on reality and many artists found that it was all too much the sameMonneret 47 Jacque-Louis David approached this problem with a craving to be unique and he took the neoclassical style and added more meaning to itCrow 26 He focused on famous literary works based around death commonly of political figures Many of these death paintings included Marat at His Last Breath 1793 and The Death of Bara 1793 Maleuvre 13 14 Both of which were paintings of martyrs He focused more on the beliefs the ideas and the context surrounding the subject of the work rather than just the depiction of a monumental event Bordes 82 In another death painting The Death of Socrates done 1787 David did something a bit different Oddly enough he painted his subject alive the moment before his death instead of his usual post-mortem depiction He did this because he wanted to focus on Socrates belief of immortalityBurroughs 142 Jacque-Louis David used the literary work of Platos Phaedo which was Platos account of the last moments of the life of Socrates Socrates was sentence to exile or death by the Athenian Government for his beliefs and teachings that aroused skepticism in his students Socrates refused to go into exile and took his sentence of death by hemlock Crow 26 David lived during
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