JACQUES LOUIS DAVID, OATH OF THE HORATII, TENNIS COURT OATH
Pledge of Allegiance, Francis Bellamy, Edward Bellamy, & Looking Backward

Pledge of Allegiance videos & images The Pledge of Allegiance (& the military salute) was the origin of Adolf Hitler's "Nazi" salute under the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazis).  http://rexcurry.net/pledgesalute.html

Francis Bellamy & Edward Bellamy touted National Socialism and the police state in the USA decades before their dogma was exported to Germany. They influenced the NSDAP, its dogma, symbols and rituals. http://rexcurry.net/police-state.html
The swastika, although an ancient symbol, was also used to represent crossed "S" letters for "socialism" under the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazis), similar to the alphabetical symbolism for the SS Division, the SA, the NSV, and the VW logo (the letters "V" and "W" joined for "Volkswagen"). http://rexcurry.net/bookchapter4a1a2a1.html
See how dogma influenced modern art and graphic art under the National Socialist German Workers Party.  http://rexcurry.net/book1a1contents-pledge.html

Politics, propaganda and graphic art collide in the government's obsession with your life in the USA http://rexcurry.net/pledge2.html
Learn how "patriotism" and propaganda combine in  Flags, Tattoos & fanatacism. http://rexcurry.net/tattoos.html

The USA's growing militaristic Police State
http://rexcurry.net/police-state.html

Liberty art, freedom art, political art, libertarian art and photography by libertarian artist Rex Curry
MORE ON ART AND PHOTOGRAPHY at  http://rexcurry.net/photography.html
and http://rexcurry.net/schools.html and http://rexcurry.net/pledge2.html and http://rexcurry.net/artwork.html
and http://rexcurry.net/ecoart.html  and  http://rexcurry.net/ecotags.html and http://rexcurry.net/trees.html  
and  http://rexcurry.net/ecoturtles.html  and  http://rexcurry.net/ssnall.html   and  http://rexcurry.net/ssnburn.html
and  http://rexcurry.net/tattoos.html  and  http://rexcurry.net/ssnstamp.jpg  and  http://rexcurry.net/ssntp3.jpg  
and   http://rexcurry.net/ssntie.jpg and   http://rexcurry.net/tags.html  and  http://rexcurry.net/gunsbumpers.html
and http://rexcurry.net/moneyart.html 

Jacques Louis David Roman Salute Oath of the Horatii, Tennis Court Oath, Pledge of Allegiance, Nazi Salute American Salute, Art Historian Rex Curry


  MYTHS ABOUT JACQUES-LOUIS DAVID, THE PAINTER



  Jacques-Louis David (August 30, 1748 - December 29, 1825) 
 http://rexcurry.net/nazi%20salute%209b.jpg



THERE ARE TWO LEFT HANDS IN THE REACHING GESTURE BELOW WITH THE BACK-MOST FIGURES
Art Historian Dr. Rex Curry the Pledge of Allegiance, the Oath of the Horatii Jacques Louis David Neo-classical



The myth that the straight-armed salute is an ancient Roman salute has been completely refuted.
http://rexcurry.net/pledge-jacques-louis-david.html

The infamous straight-armed salute of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazis) came from the USA's military salute and from the salute's use in the original pledge of allegiance to the flag, and not from ancient Rome. The early salute is shown in this Pledge of Allegiance photograph
http://rexcurry.net/pledge-allegiance-pledge-allegiance.jpg

The Roman salute myth was used (and still is used) to cover-up the fact that National Socialists in the USA inspired National Socialists in Germany (Nazis) in their salute and ideology.  
http://rexcurry.net/roman-salute-metropolitan-museum-of-art.html

The pledge of allegiance (and its original straight-arm salute) was created by Francis Bellamy, a self-proclaimed National Socialist in the USA. http://rexcurry.net/book1a1contents-pledge.html

The Oath of the Horatii was finished in 1784 and displayed at Musée du Louvre at Paris   http://rexcurry.net/pledgehoratii.html  

In the past, a modern writer promoted - with deliberate misrepresentation - the "ancient Roman salute" myth on wikipedia. In response, the Art Historian Dr. Rex Curry debunked the "ancient Roman salute" myth and explained how that myth developed from the Pledge of Allegiance.
 http://rexcurry.net/roman-salute-oxford-english-dictionary.html

Thereafter, the debunked writer who had promoted the Roman myth searched for another explanation and concocted the newer myth about neoclassical artists in order to cover-up and suppress Professor Curry's discoveries. The new myth is based on speculation that neoclassical artists created the Roman salute myth.

There is no support for the idea that the "Roman Salute" concept arose among neoclassical artists misinterpreting Roman images.

There is no evidence that Jacques-Louis David actually thought that his painting "The Oath of the Horatii" represented an actual historical Roman salute. All of the evidence indicates that David created the scene out of whole cloth for drama. All of the speculating otherwise is actually the machinations of a modern writer and people of his ilk. The intellectual dishonesty is all the more evident in that the modern writer deliberately fails to address those very points already made by Dr. Curry http://rexcurry.net/pledgehoratii.html  

The Horatii painting depicts three people reaching for weapons.

A similar gesture is then repeated in the Tennis Court Oath, an unfinished painting by David. It is a later painting than his Horatii, so David is simply repeating his own concocted gesture. The Oath also uses other dramatic gestures that David concocted, and puts them in a more modern setting.  

There is no evidence that the Oath accurately depicts the event protrayed. David was not there. Further, the oath was written on paper (the paper being read or held by the central figure?) and the "oath was taken" by signing the document. There is no evidence that anyone is taking an oath in the painting (the central figure might be swearing, or he might be reading his document and gesturing for quiet) while those people about him waive hats, talk, holler, point, etc.  Three figures on the left seem to be an inside reference to the Horatii painting.  Some modern writers misrepresent the works or read into the works.

Even David never described the Horatii picture as a "Roman salute."  Nor did David ever use the term "Roman salute" ever for any reason (the concept "ancient Roman salute" did not exist during David's time. See Dr. Curry's work on that issue and regarding support for Dr. Curry's work from the Oxford English Dictionary http://rexcurry.net/roman-salute-oxford-english-dictionary.html ). The "Oath of the Horatii" shows three people reaching for weapons. The two figures in the back are reaching with their left hands, not their right hands. http://rexcurry.net/pledgehoratii.html  

No one other than Dr. Curry ever asks the question "what is the oldest example of 'Oath of the Horatii' used to explain the Roman salute?" That is the question Dr. Curry asked and answered. Does an old example not exist? Is the oldest source the wikipedia effort to cover-up Dr. Curry's work?

The term "Roman salute" came after Francis Bellamy from Rome N.Y., (as shown by Dr. Curry) and even later than that after the socialist Mussolini adopted America's mechanical stiff-arm salute in Rome, Italy. No one other than Dr. Curry examines the etymology of the phrase about which Winkler wrote and asks the question "when was the term 'Roman salute' first used?" That is the question Dr. Curry asked and answered. The Oxford English Dictionary supports Dr. Curry's work. http://rexcurry.net/roman-salute-oxford-english-dictionary.html


Art historian Dr. Curry North American Vexillological Association NAVA Flags Of The World FOTW
<= Art historian Dr. Rex Curry
Art historian Dr. Rex Curry Flags Of The World, FOTW North American Vexillological Association NAVA
Pledge of Allegiance in frightening images & articles at
http://rexcurry.net/book1a1contents-pledge.html
For fascinating information about symbolism see
http://rexcurry.net/book1a1contents-swastika.html 
Hear audio on worldwide radio at
http://rexcurry.net/audio-rex-curry-podcast-radio.html



Tennis Court Oath Jacques Louis David debunked by art historian Dr. Rex Curry & by Jacques-Louis David

This painting (above) is The Tennis Court Oath by Jacques-Louis David


You should enjoy the following esoteric points that are known to almost no one.  They are virtually unknown due to misrepresentations spread by wikipedia/wakipedia, the anonymous bulletin board masquerading as an encyclopedia (It is odd that people cite wikipedia, in that for it to be
cited "intelligently"(?) one would have to include the date and exact time cited in that wakipedia changes by the milisecond, and is often changed
deliberately to contradict the very reason someone cited it. By citing the date and exact time it might be possible for a reader to view the history of
changes and find the actual article cited as it existed at that point in time).

The top esoteric point to be made here is a rebuttal of the bonehead who posted on wakipedia that the Jacques-Louis David painting "Oath of the Horatii" is
the origin of the stiff-armed salute.  Lots of people repeat that mindlessly because they see it on wakipedia.

The bonehead who originally posted the horatii lie did it in an effort to cover-up discoveries by the noted symbologist Dr. Rex Curry concerning the pledge of allegiance as the origin of the stiff-armed salute. It is interesting to note that the wakipedia comment about the horatii claim never explains that the pledge use of the gesture did not come from the horatii painting, rather the pledge’s use came from the military salute extended out toward the flag. That and other points are examples of the deliberateness of misrepresentation in the wakipedia posts, intended to mislead people into believing that Francis Bellamy (author of the Pledge of Allegiance) was inspired by the David painting, when there is no evidence at all of that, just the opposite.

Wikipedia liars also never mention that government schools required the salute and Bellamy's chanting by law daily for three decades (and
persecuted anyone who refused) before German National Socialists did the same, because they want everyone to believe it was simply the Horatii
painting that inspired German socialsists, and there was no impact from the USA's government schools that required the salute and Bellamy's chanting by law
daily for three decades (and persecuted anyone who refused). To the liars, the Bellamy/pledge activity was of no import and is meaningless, whereas the
horatii painting explains everything, even though no one (e.g. Hitler, Bellamy, David) mentions it at all in regard to any "roman salute gesture."

Even Jaques-Louis David never used the term "Roman salute" as the concept of a "Roman salute" did not even exist during David's life (check the etymology of the
term "Roman salute" -a check that is glaringly never referenced by wakipedia nor by anyone who repeats the Horatii myth -the myth that the "Roman salute" concept came from the painting "Oath of the Horatii." There is more in a link below).
The Roman myth came from the Pledge of Allegiance.

Francis Bellamy never used the term "Roman salute" as the term did not exist at the time he wrote the pledge, and he did not reference David, and he specifically explained how the salute developed: the pledge began with a military salute that was then extended out toward the flag. Bellamy did not even intend for the palm do be down, but in practice it became palm down due to the disinterest of children forced to perform the robotic daily chanting (they merely extended the military salute out toward the flag, without turning the palm up). It had nothing to do with any "Roman salute" myth, because the myth did not exist at the time that Bellamy wrote the pledge and for some time thereafter.  The "Roman salute" myth came from the Pledge of Allegiance, not vice versa. There is more on that topic in one or more of the links below (for example, Francis Bellamy grew up in Rome, N.Y., where, believe it or don't, people referred to themselves as "Romans," and sometimes they do today).

The Horatii myth (that the "Roman salute" came from the painting "Oath of the Horatii") exists because liars on wakipedia used to claim that the salute actually was an ancient Roman salute (and lots of people repeated that myth and still do repeat that myth because of wakipedia and because they haven't been updated on the newer Horatii lie on wakipedia). Dr. Curry pointed out the cupidity of the wakipedians and the falsity of the Roman salute myth to the point that it became so embarrassingly obvious that they could not persist in re-posting the ancient Roman salute myth any longer, and they could not dispute Dr. Curry’s discoveries that the stiff-arm salute came from Francis Bellamy's use of the military salute extended toward the flag. The wikipedia liars deliberately looked for another explanation, in an effort to pre-date Bellamy as the source. The liars on wakipedia saw the Horatii painting, saw people with their arms extended outward in the painting, and they fabricated and substituted the "Horatii myth" for their "ancient Roman salute myth ("substitute" is an accurate word because they did the same thing when they claimed that the stiff-armed salute actually was an ancient Roman salute: they would pick out any artistic representation from ancient Rome that showed any person with his arm in the air, and they would declare that to be the "Roman salute" (they have done the same now with the Horatii painting)).

Anyway, now you know some things that are essentially not known to almost anyone else on the planet.

Here is an article recently sent to another boob who repeated the Horatii myth because of wakipedia (it repeats some of the points above).

This is posted to correct errors in the January 18, 2008 article "Questions Answered: Roman salutes..."

The USA's Pledge of Allegiance was the origin of the salute adopted later by the National Socialist German Workers Party.

Wikipedia (Wakipedia) has spread the lie that the gesture came from the Jacques Louis-David painting Oath of the Horatii. That myth
originated on wakipedia in an effort to cover-up the discoveries of the noted symbologist Dr. Rex Curry. Even David never used the term
"Roman salute" as the concept of a "Roman salute" did not even exist during David's life (check the etymology of the term "Roman salute" -a
check that is glaringly never referenced by wakipedia nor by anyone who repeats the Horatii myth). The Roman myth came from
the Pledge of Allegiance.

Francis Bellamy never used the term "Roman salute" as the term did not exist at the time he wrote the pledge, and he did not reference David,
and he specifically explained how the salute developed: the pledge began with a military salute that was then extended out toward the
flag. Bellamy did not even intend for the palm do be down, but in practice it became palm down due to the disinterest of children forced to
perform the robotic daily chanting (they merely extended the military salute out toward the flag, without turning the palm up).

The Pledge of Allegiance was the origin of the Nazi salute (and the swastika -although an ancient symbol- was used to represent crossed
S-shapes for "socialism" under the National Socialist German Workers Party).

Francis Bellamy (cousin of author Edward Bellamy) was a socialist in the Nationalism movement and authored the Pledge of Allegiance
(1892), the origin of the stiff-armed salute adopted much later by the National Socialist German Workers Party. See the work of the
symbologist Dr. Rex Curry. http://rexcurry.net/pledge2.html

The early pledge began with a military salute that was then extended out toward the flag. In practice, the second gesture was performed
palm-down with a stiff-arm when the military salute was merely pointed out at the flag. Thus, the military salute led to the Nazi salute in
the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States. http://rexcurry.net/pledge_military.html

It was not an ancient Roman salute. That is a myth debunked by Dr. Curry, who showed that the myth came from the Pledge.
http://rexcurry.net/roman-salute-oxford-english-dictionary.html

Another explanation for the "Roman salute" myth is here http://rexcurry.net/bookchapter1a1f.html

American national socialists (including Edward Bellamy), in cooperation with Madame Blavatsky and the Theosophical Society,
popularized the use of the Swastika (an ancient symbol) as a modern symbol for socialism long before the symbol was adopted by the National
Socialist German Workers Party (Nazis) and used on its flag.
http://rexcurry.net/book1a1contents-swastika.html

See also
http://rexcurry.net/45th-infantry-division-swastika-sooner-soldiers.html

The Bellamys influenced the National Socialist German Workers Party and its dogma, rituals and symbols (e.g. robotic collective chanting
to flags; and the modern use of the swastika as crossed S-letters for "Socialism" under German National Socialism). Similar alphabetical
symbolism was used under the NSDAP for the "SS" division, the "SA," the "NSV," et cetera and similar symbolism is visible today as the
VW logo (the letters "V" and "W" joined for "Volkswagen").
http://rexcurry.net/bookchapter4a1a2a1.html

The Bellamys wanted the government to take over all food, clothing, shelter, goods and services and create an "industrial army" to impose
their "military socialism." See the video documentary at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BssWWZ3XEe4

It is the same dogma that led to the socialist Wholecaust (of which the Holocaust was a part): ~60 million killed under the former Union
of Soviet Socialist Republics; ~50 million under the Peoples' Republic of China; ~20 million under the National Socialist German Workers'
Party. http://rexcurry.net/socialists.html

Today, the flag symbolizes authoritarianism in the USA. The historical facts above explain the enormous size and scope of government today,
and the USA's police state, and why it is growing so rapidly.  They are reasons for minarchy: massive reductions in government, taxation,
spending and socialism.


paintings, biographie, quotes, vita, gallery, socrates, obras, tableau


The early American stiff-armed salute was not an ancient Roman salute. That is a myth debunked by the noted historian Dr. Rex Curry, who showed that the myth came from the Pledge and from various facts including that Francis Bellamy grew up in Rome, N.Y., not Rome, Italy, and thereafter the Pledge salute was repeated in early films (some showing fictional scenes of ancient Rome). The reasons above and more led to the American stiff-armed salute being picked up later by German socialists and the National Socialist German Workers Party (under the influence of Adolf Hitler and the U.S. citizen and Harvard grad Ernst Hanfstaengl, a confidant of Hitler) and by Italian socialists under Benito Mussolini (who discovered the Pledge of Allegiance salute while he deveolped followers as a socialist journalist writing for socialist newspapers, and later became an ally of the National Socialist German Workers Party). http://rexcurry.net/pledgerome.html

Francis Bellamy never used the term "Roman salute" when describing his pledge's salute and he was not influenced by Jacques-Louis David's painting "Oath of the Horatii." One reason why Francis Bellamy never used the term "Roman salute" in any way is because the concept of the "Roman salute" did not exist when Bellamy wrote his pledge and for decades thereafter. Francis Bellamy clearly explained that his pledge began with a military salute that was then extended out toward the flag. In practice, the second gesture was performed palm-down with a stiff-arm when the military salute was merely pointed out at the flag by disinterested children forced to do Bellamy's robotic chanting daily in government schools. That is how the straight-arm salute developed from Francis Bellamy's Pledge of Allegiance and its use of the military salute (and how the USA's Pledge salute led to the Nazi salute). http://rexcurry.net/pledge_military.html

That the concept of the "Roman salute" did not exist when Bellamy wrote his pledge (and for decades thereafter) also means that the concept of the "Roman salute" did not even exist when Jacques-Louis David lived and painted "Oath of the Horatii" and thus David was NOT thinking of a real or imagined "Roman salute" when he painted the Horatii, nor did David ever use the term "Roman salute." The Horatii lie (that the painting was the origin of the "Roman salute" myth) first appeared on Wikipedia, deliberately fabricated by a liar to cover-up Dr. Curry's discovery that the Pledge was the origin of the Nazi salute. In the painting, 3 brothers are reaching for weapons (and the two figures in back are reaching with their left hands). The same liar who created the Horatii lie had, until he was debunked, previously claimed that the stiff-armed salute was an actual ancient Roman salute, and he posted the lie that Roman statues displaying "adlocutio" (a gesture made by a person speaking) showed the "ancient Roman salutes" that he claimed was adopted by Bellamy. The newly substituted Horatii lie has been mindlessly repeated by many people (as the adlocutio lie was repeated and still is) because wakipedia glorifies itself as an encyclopedia, even though it is merely an anonymous bulletin board where anyone can post anything. http://rexcurry.net/roman-salute-oxford-english-dictionary.html




Distribution of the Eagles Jacques Louis David exposed by art historian Dr. Rex Curry & by Jacques-Louis David

DEBUNKED: The Distribution of the Eagles by Jacques-Louis David http://rexcurry.net/pledge-distribution-of-the-eagles.html
The distribution of the Eagle Standards was painted by David even later, and uses dramatic gestures that David concocted, but in another modern setting.  There is no evidence that it accurately depicts the event protrayed and there is no evidence that anyone is taking an oath in the painting at all, nor "pledging allegiance."  One modern writer claims that this is the most important of these paintings.  That painting shows no use of the salute in pledging or oath-taking or at all and simply shows various people, with various gestures, acclaiming the central figure and grabbing for, and shouting for, the "Eagle Standards."  A modern writer misrepresents the works and reads into them.

U.S. Constitution 1787 & art historian Dr. Rex Curry

The cover-up is also supported by the fact that a modern writer knows (or should know) that Francis Bellamy explained the origin of his salute and that it had nothing to do with imitating any painting, nor imitating any "Roman" salute myth.

There is as much evidence that, after Dr. Curry's shocking discoveries about the salute's origin with the Pledge of Allegiance, modern writers deliberately looked for other explanations and then those writers seized upon neoclassical artists in order to cover-up and suppress Professor Curry's discoveries.  

The painting "The Oath of the Horatii" http://rexcurry.net/pledgehoratii.html might have inspired (or enlarged) the myth of the Roman salute.  The myth was also  inspired by early movies that showed fictional Roman scenes using a straight-arm salute.  Those movies were inspired by the original straight-arm salute of the pledge of allegiance to the U.S. flag (from 1892).  The "Roman salute" myth was reinforced when the salute was adopted as the "Olympic salute" used at Olympic games on or before 1924.  

The Roman salute myth might have sprung from the fact that Francis Bellamy (the author of the pledge of allegiance and of its original straight-arm salute) was from the city of Rome (in the state of New York, not in Italy) and people and things from the city in New York state were referred to as "Roman" and still are today.  Francis Bellamy (1855-1932) was born in Mount Morris, New York, where his father, David Bellamy, was working as a pastor for the Baptist Church. In 1859, David accepted a call at the First Baptist Church in Rome, New York. He remained there until he died in 1864. Francis began schooling and graduated from Rome Free Academy (RFA -the government high school that is still there) in 1872, later becoming RFA's first president of its Alumni Association. The RFA started as a non-government school in 1847 when a meeting of citizens established Rome Academy. The Board of Trustees accepted a land site gift from the estate of Dominick Lynch. In 1848 the RFA opened with a principal and six teachers. It was a non-government school for 20 years until, in 1869, a government school district with a Board of Education was created and Rome Academy became "Rome Free Academy." In 1873, after RFA, Bellamy entered the University of Rochester where he studied for the Baptist ministry.

In 1898 the New York state legislature was the first in the nation to pass a statute forcing children in government schools to robotically chant the socialist's pledge. In 1905, as many as 19 States had passed school flag laws.  To this very day New York still has a law forcing teachers to lead a recitation of the socialist pledge in socialist schools (government schools).
fascist symbols of Rome Free Academy

Francis Bellamy, the person who created/popularized the misnamed “Roman salute” was a person who admired ancient Rome and its militarism, who grew up in the city of Rome in New York, where he and his neighbors were known as “Romans,” and was educated in the Rome Academy there. To this very day, the school banner appears as it does to the right and it contains two fasces (axes through the middle of wood with binding).  The fasces actually was a symbol of government authority in ancient Rome.  The straight-arm salute was not.

There is no evidence that the painting "The Oath of the Horatii" inspired the original straight-armed salute in the pledge of allegiance to the U.S. flag. 

Bellamy (the author of the pledge of allegiance) and Upham (with whom Bellamy worked) discussed the process of creating the original flag salute and the painting was not part of the process and it did not even arise in their discussion. http://rexcurry.net/pledgesalute.html   Further, Bellamy and Upham explicitly rejected the idea of an "oath" and specifically chose to use the word "pledge."

One would have to wildly speculate that if the painting inspired the flag salute at all, then it was subliminally.

There is no speculation about the fact that Francis Bellamy was a National Socialist in the USA three decades before the National Socialists in Germany, and that the USA's National Socialists promoted their dogma and their original straight-armed salute to the USA's flag for three decades ahead of the similar dogma and behavior of National Socialists in Germany.

The scene depicted in the painting "The Oath of the Horatii" was not actually an oath (other than in the artist's title), nor a pledge, nor a salute at all.  The painting depicts a scene from a story in which a father exhorts his sons to fight.  The painting shows the sons reaching for their weapons (swords) as the father hands them over.

The same idea of reaching for weapons is the right of self-defense (against attack by one's own government or by other people) and is embodied in the United States Constitution under the Second Amenment. The following photograph shows the proper interpretation of the right arm salute, stiff arm salute.
http://rexcurry.net/pledgeofallegiance-salute-girlandgun-stiff-arm.jpg
Pledge of Allegiance salute stiff arm right arm
The painting by Jacques-Louis David (8/30/1748 - 12/29/1825) is famous in the history of French painting and is exhibited at the Louvre Museum.  The story was taken from Titus-Livy.  The painter David chose to imagine the start of the story, rather than the action that followed.  David chose the idea of the oath (the oath is not mentioned in the historical accounts).  David may have been the first person to "make up" a formal oath as part of the story.  In fact the very story depicted, even without the oath, may not have actually happened. The story was inspired by the wars between Rome and Alba, in 669 B.C.  The painting depicts the three Roman brothers of the Horatii family giving their "oath" or assurance that they will fight and gesturing toward weapons held by their father who exhorts his sons to fight.

If the painting had served as inspiration for the pledge of allegiance, then the pledge of allegiance would probably have been a better pledge that more accurately describes the painting: "I pledge allegiance to my right to keep and bear arms, and to the liberty for which it stands, to defend my father, my family and myself."

                       *************************

Rome was represented by the triplets Horatii, and Alba also by triplets from the family of Curatii. As a result of the combat only one (Horatius) survived and Rome was declared the victor.   There may be a relationship to the names "Horatio" or "Horace" (see Horace of the Horatian Ode), and "Horatius Cocles" a hero of ancient Roman Legend, celebrated for his defense of a bridge over the Tiber against the Etruscans.

Also worth exploring the relationship of the painting to the French Revolution (1789–1799). It was a vital period in the history of France and Europe as a whole. During this time, democracy replaced the absolute monarchy in France. It brought the Reign of Terror. It that sense it shared some similarities to the socialist movements in other countries where a monarch or government was replaced with a more socialistic form of government and massive deaths and suffering followed: under the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, under the National Socialist German Workers Party, under the Peoples' Republic of China. The socialist ideas that grew from the French Revolution influenced events in the socialist Wholecaust (of which the Holocaust was a part): 62 million slaughtered under the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; 21 million under the National Socialist German Workers Party; 49 million under the Peoples' Republic of China.  The death toll under the French Revolution was not as horrendous.

After the France's Socialist Revolution, the Jules Ferry laws were imposed.  They are a set of French laws which established (first) expensive government schools paid for with taxes (1881) then mandatory education (1882). They were proposed by the (Republican) Minister of Public Instruction Jules Ferry during the Third Republic (1871-1940). Those laws on government schools were in part a consequence of the defeat of the 1870 war with Prussia: the German soldiers were considered to be better educated than Frenchmen, and that was thought to be one of the causes of the defeat. The mistake that was made was in also believing that government schools would correct the "problem."

The Ferry laws would also be the basis of the République des instituteurs (Teachers' Republic): through-out its existence, the Third Republic, dominated by the Radical-Socialist Party, would rest in a large part on those middle-class civil servants which included teachers. Gustave Le Bon stated in The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind (1895) that public instruction and the large amount of teachers created for this mission was one of the cause of anarchism, socialism and other "subversive ideologies").

It is unfortunate to note that the same errors were being adopted in the USA. Francis Bellamy (author of the "Pledge of Allegiance") and Edward Bellamy (author of "Looking Backward") and other socialists in the USA promoted a government takeover of schools. When the government granted their wish, the schools imposed segregation by law and taught racism as official public policy.

As part of the Pledge of Allegiance (1892), Francis Bellamy had initially considered using a slogan popular during France's socialist Revolution, "Liberty, Fraternity, Equality" but Bellamy thought it would be too trite.  At that time, the many problems of socialism in France were becoming well known.  Francis Bellamy died in 1931, and thus did not live long enough to be completely aware of the monstrous socialist Wholecaust that would eventually worsen after his death.

The Radical-Socialist Party, founded in 1901 (four years before the socialist SFIO which unified the various socialist currents), remained the most powerful party of the Third Republic starting at the end of the 19th century.

The website http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/his/CoreArt/art/neocl_dav_oath.html gives this description of the Neo-classicist painting:

The painting was inspired by the period of the wars between Rome and Alba, in 669 B.C.  It has been decided that the dispute between the two cities must be settled by an unusual form of combat to be fought by two groups of three champions each. The two groups are the three Horatii brothers and the three Curiatii brothers. The drama lay in the fact that one of the sisters of the Curiatii, Sabina, is married to one of the Horatii, while one of the sisters of the Horatii, Camilla, is betrothed to one of the Curiatii. Despite the ties between the two families, the Horatii's father exhorts his sons to fight the Curiatii and they obey, despite the lamentations of the women."

David succeeded in ennobling these passions and transforming these virtues into something sublime. Corneille and Poussin had already used this same subject and treated it as a sentimental and aristocratic game (Corneille's Horace). David himself stated: "If I owe my subject to Corneille, I owe my painting to Poussin." He referred to Poussin's "Rape of the Sabine Women" from whence David borrowed the figure of the lictor for his drawing of the youngest Horatius. Unlike these, David decided to treat the beginning, rather than the denouement of the action, seeing that initial moment as being charged with greater intensity and imbued with more grandeur. And, it was he who chose the idea of the oath (it is not mentioned in the historical accounts), transforming the event into a solemn act that bound the wills of different individuals in a single, creative gesture. He was not the first painter to do so, but certainly the first to do it in such a stirring manner.

The appeal of the elder Horatius is in the center, the reply on the left is the spontaneous vigor of the oath, upheld loudly and with a show of strength, while on the right it is a tearful anguish, movement turned in upon itself, compressed into emotion.

The decor is reduced to a more abstract order, that of architectural space--massive columns, equally massive arches, opening out onto a majestic shadow. The three archways loosely correspond to the three groups. The contemplative atmosphere is softened by shades of green, brown, pink, and red, all very discreet. Instead of opening his painting out onto a landscape or an expanse of sky, David closes it off to the outside, bathes it in shadow. As a result, the light in this setting takes on a brick-toned reflection, which encircles his figures with a mysterious halo.

Through David's rigorous and efficient arrangement, the superior harmony of the colors, and the spiritual density of the figures, this sacrifice, transfigured by the oath, becomes the founding act of a new aesthetic and moral order. He consciously intended it to be a proclamation of the new neoclassical style in which dramatic lighting, ideal forms, and gestural clarity are emphasized. Presenting a lofty moralistic (and by implication patriotic) theme, the work became the principal model for noble and heroic historical painting of the next two decades. It also launched David's personal popularity and awarded him the right to take on his own students.
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by Mike B. Knight

The Oath of the Horatii as Political Discourse

Pierre Corneille's Horace presents diverse dialogues both effectively and persuasively. Numerous speeches in Horace are intended to provoke political and philosophical discussion, while maintaining a fairly straightforward meaning--there are clear motivations by the author in his writing. This style and intention is typical of not only plays during the same period, but also in multiple volumes of theatrical works. Painters of seventeenth and eighteenth century France, however, usually followed a different approach when deciding the subject and layout of their works. Jacques-Louis David, when deciding to paint a scene related to Horace, did not intend to create a clear-cut meaning as pronounced in the play. David eventually chose a scene not represented by Corneille because he wanted to construct a discourse-inducing environment by painting The Oath of the Horatii that theatrics could not foster.

David was not trying to display a set, universal interpretation with this painting. After all, he had already rejected two early sketches that focused on scenes present in Horace. Both these two portrayals would have presented a generous interpretation of established dialogue present in the play; each probably would not have had a desirable reaction considering French culture and expectations of the time. David presented his first sketch to a group of respected individuals including Charles de Wailly; they did not enjoy the work because the full meaning depended on words the spectator could never hear (Crow 34). In other words, by viewing a depiction of a scene from Horace, David realized the audience would attempt to establish ideas based not upon the action in the painting, but by the correlating events in Horace. This is one of the chief reasons David chose not to paint a scene from Horace; there was an overwhelming desire to allow room for analysis and eventual self-understanding--he wanted the audience to determine meaning.

Corneille Sedaine was also present at the presentation of David's initial sketch; he suggested David choose The Oath of the Horatii, a scene not present in Corneille's play (38). He mentioned specifically that David should avoid the climax, Camilla's death, due to various violent overtones. Although not the main factor influencing David, Sedaine was the first to suggest painting the oath and held certain significance in David's ultimate decision. By painting this scene, Sedaine argued, David could add dramatic appeal and not necessarily have as piercing a reaction that a vicious or climatic scene may create (41). Therefore, Corneille Sedaine acted as a catalyst to David's eventual embracement of the oath. The scene also allowed David the ability to limit a potentially highly divisive reaction by viewers. The final version of The Oath of the Horatii portrays three brothers ready to risk their lives for the honor of Rome (41). Although the moment never occurs in the written play it can be inferred as a real occurrence. This depiction was in sharp contrast to his second sketch which showed a definitive central character. He chose three brothers because he did not want to have a central focus on one hero, which would have not been appreciated by the audience. The conflict really arises between Roman culture where the Horace took place and French culture--the viewers of the work. Roman culture featured an established sense of near blind-faith to the nation; the Romans have often been criticized for their appeal to heroics and their fundamental lack of understanding of feeling (35). French culture had a near opposite ideology on both the concept of state and patriotism to that state. The French populace's idea of the state had a clear community feeling and was not nearly as hierarchal as Roman thought. Basically, French political culture embraced a completely different form of the idea of patriotism (35). David did not want to create a clash whenever presenting his work. The written play did not necessarily have this same immediate clash, mainly because of the differing medium and Pierre Corneille's style. Still, the painting allows a large degree of internal contrast and sharpness; while the male figures appear embraced by the task at hand, the females are torn emotionally. Even this small interpretation could be contested--and that is David's intent. Further personal interpretation would illustrate the intellectual discourse desired by David; he seemed to yield power to the spectators.

Visual art, then, seems to be less convincing overall and somewhat involuntary. In theatrics, by contrast, the playwright, director, and actor can all, to some degree, influence the audience's interpretation of actions; each dramatist maintains a certain quantity of political persuasiveness. In fact, some eighteenth century French individuals, felt certain plays were nearly as effective as classical tragedies, they thought these plays could harness the audience's emotional response and shape both civic virtues and, to a certain extent, political culture (37). And they could--Horace certainly falls into this category. The Journal des Dames, which was "published and edited in the late 1770s by Louis-Sabastien Mercier," was one of the leading advocates of this ideology (36). In some cases, this implies that a limited number of persons can control and reshape the interpretation of action. In visual arts, especially David's works, there is not necessarily a clear representation of one avenue of desired interpretation. Additionally, the artistic environment in Revolutionary France featured numerous painters who were not individually ascribing to the work--the overall idea and justification the embraced was far superior to the technique (37). Unlike the clearer meanings in plays, David wanted to provoke thought on basic political ideologies, and make sure not to portray a scene that would limit the wide array of interpretation.

David carefully chose The Oath of the Horatii in order to foster political and philosophical conversation and ongoing debate about the interpretation. David was able to craft an intellectual work by choosing a scene and medium not represented in Pierre Corneille's Horace. "To the world, this was going to be David's break-through work" and to the world, it was (31). The Oath of the Horatii had certain political repercussions in French society that heighten its importance and appeal, making it an immediate and unquestionable classic, precisely because of David's intention to provoke political discourse.

Work Cited

Crow, Thomas. "Fatherland," in Emulation; Making Artists for Revolutionary France. Yale University Press, 1995: 31-45.

by Mike Knight February 27, 2003

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Was the socialist Wholecaust (of which the Holocaust was a part) caused by the French Revolution?
http://rexcurry.net/socialists.html

That question is raised by the History Channel's commercial promoting its show about the French Revolution and stating "Stalin, Mao, and Castro would be no one without the French Revolution." Is the History Channel saying that the French Revolution was a disaster in that it led to the socialist Wholecaust and the worst mass slaughter the world has ever known: 60 million killed by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; 50 million killed by the Peoples's Republic of China; 20 million killed by the National Socialist German Workers' Party? http://rexcurry.net/socialism.html

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