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In this paper, we shall discuss the Oath of Horatii by David and The Nightmare by Henry Fuseli. Indeed, the former is characterized by a number of features. Firstly, each element of the above was painted in a style of minimalism without any wide brush strokes or fluidity. Furthermore, the feminine elegance of the art is outpaced by stoical masculinity. The painting comprises an element of composed triangle with the arrangement of brothers on the left, women on the right, while Horatius takes the central placement and an upraised sword occupies the apex. Furthermore, there are contradicting lines across the marbled floor on the fore point (Carrier & David 57).
The Oath of the Horatii brought forth by Jacque-Louis David was accomplished in 1784. Indeed, this work of art saw to the final bit of the 18th century custom. It, therefore, credited the 18th century by giving the final statement on the Rococo. Rococo was the 18th century tradition.. It depicts human presence straining for the ‘impression’ referred to by Diderot. David’s work has a developing approach aimed at acceptance and the exploration of the past eventuality. Indeed, the Oath of Horatii represents David’s eccentricity whichcontradicts the perception of the French academics in pursuit for David’s comprehension of art, which was basically pegged on ancient and contemporary ideologies. Furthermore, this art stood in for a synthesis that would be adopted in the future by the followers of French revolution (Crow & Thomas 123).
However, it is noticeable that David chose colors sparingly and used a small selection of colors characterized by an equitable balance on either side. The colors of the painting are represented by; blue, black and flesh tones. Besides this, the art work is characterized by curvilinear cloisters on the background, while there is a highly conspicuous cloak of Horatius that appeals to viewers at the center. In fact, the painting focuses on the Rome history and contemporary issues. The brothers wear red and white apparels in preparation for the patriotic fight for Rome. On the other hand, women in poor moods are depicted together in dim tones. David uses shadow recesses to emphasize the basic colors and portray differences in the hue. Generally, in his work, David varies his style, except in his Oath of Horatii where he categorically defines the subject matter and the manner of presentation. This represents neo-classicism since he bases his art work on historical issues. In addition, the painting is a bas-belief with strong angular streaks and dramatic pretenses. David was an artist who kept track of historical records and a patriot optimist for his country. Indeed, David’s painting was a pace setter for the neo-classical painters who followed (Batterberry & Ariane 39).
On the other hand, the painting Nightmare by Henry Fuseli, a Swiss-born painter; is considered as ‘a home of violence’. Contrary to David’s Oath of Horatii, which depicts historical patriotism and bravely, this work is a representation consummate of mystery and terror in sexual aspects. Besides this, Fusel lays little emphasis on colors to relay his theme. The painting was exhibited for the first time to the public at the Royal Academy in 1782. Since its creation, the art has been an icon of fear and horrible instigations. Indeed, the work depicts young lady in a restless sleep in her bedroom. The woman seems suppressed by an evil-looking rascal perched on her stomach. On the left hand side of the painting, a horse seemingly stares at her in anger amidst protracted shadow (Powell, Nicolas 129).
David portraits a human being as the main carrier of messages conveyed through the drawings and likewise Fuseli’s art. However, unlike David’s theme that exhibits roots of clarity and both historical and contemporary facts, Fusel’s art work can be characterized by ambiguity ‘in the middle’ of terror. Indeed, his art does not have an outright theme relayed to the observers but a shipment of intriguing inquiries into the thematic references. Furthermore, the 18th century exhibition saw to the establishment of many thematic portraits that carried the themes of landscapes, literature and other historical aspects. David’s Oath of Horatii found its recognition, but Fusel’s Nightmare could not find its place as any other work fell in this thematic reference. In fact, the painting fell on a class of its own and is a distinctive work (Powell & Nicolas 206).
The Nightmare, unlike David’s Oath of Horatii had the intensified sparks of genius and inaccuracy in it and was not easy to comprehend for the exhibition auditorium; many sentiments were given concerning the painting by Fusel as having the implication of ‘Hag-riding’ causal aspect, which was considered unfit for any thought. Despite the criticism, the art by Fuseli reflects his art style, as expected, however, unlike David’s piece of art, Fuseli’s work carries a hidden message that was best described by he, himself. However, it is worth noting that the two pieces of art convey a theme similarly and as intended by the authors of the respective arts. Fusel’s art in his previous periods was exemplary and has been well received by the public. Indeed, his eye-grabbing strong visual works were characterized by happy reception by both critics and the public. As opposed to David’s art at the exhibition in 1782, Fusel’s Nightmare has established his name as an artist expounding on his footing as the visual artist of supernatural and weird imageries. Indeed, Fusel was a pessimist thinker who carried negative impression concerning the society.
Furthermore, the style used by the artist best fits the subject as it denotes an incident of violence. Above all, the meaning is hidden from the absolute clarity denoting the mystery behind the glaring insults that people undergo behind the doors. The two works are crucial to the community in which they exist as far as the nationals are concerned. Indeed, they carry thematic features of historical events, as well as contemporary events, and remind people of their cultural background, which considerably re-affirms their commitment to patriotism. Indeed, these art works also act as teaching elements for other community-based events that instigate violence and lack of accountability to the people as for the case of Fusel’s Nightmare (Myrone, Marina, et al 172).
The art displayed in the two distinctive episodes, is a cognitive stronghold that defines the culture of the people. However, the two works of art relay events or happenings within the society cultural setting and mark important episodes in the community’s historical and contemporary issues. David’s art, for instance, illustrates peoples’ historical accounts and depicts various aspects of cultural background that harmonize the community and draw its attention to their cultural settings. The thematic inferences that came side by side with the domestic events and around the political scenes are a strong affirmation of the people’s background and their cultural settings. Indeed, Fusel was accused of feeding on raw pork and opium to induce him to weird dreams and supernatural mindset.