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The Louvre Museum III
Article written by Rick Archer, May 2007




010.  Madonna with child with the infant Saint John the Baptist by Raffaello Santi  (La Belle JardiniŤre) 1507  (Title contributed by Jan Davis)   Title confirmed at Louvre Museum web site

011.  The Exchange of Princesses
1622-1625 Peter Paul Rubens

Note: this title can be confirmed on the Louvre Museum web site.

012. The Sabine Women, Jacques-Louis David, 1799

The painter David was in jail, dependent upon assistance from his pupils and his ex-wife, herself recently in danger because of her openly royalist sentiments. In this sort of limbo, David returned to his original ideas of antiquity and purity, which had somehow gotten mixed up with violence and bloodshed. Once released from prison, because of the intervention of his wife and pupils, he embarked on an ambitious project. "I set out to do something entirely new. ... I want to take art back to the principles laid down by the Greeks." This daunting project took him four years and produced this picture.

We are in the early days of Roman history. The Romans have abducted the daughters of their neighbors, the Sabines. To avenge this abduction, the Sabines attacked Rome, although not immediately--since Hersilia, the daughter of Tatius, the leader of the Sabines, had been married to Romulus, the Roman leader, and then had two children by him in the interim. Here we see Hersilia between her father and husband as she adjures the warriors on both sides not to take wives away from their husbands or mothers away from their children. The other Sabine Women join in her exhortations.

Sabine Women Stopping Battle btw. Romans and Sabines

013. The Oath of the Horatii, Jacques-Louis David, 1784

This painting occupies an extremely important place in the body of David's work and in the history of French painting. It was commissioned by the Administrator of Royal Residences in 1784 and exhibited at the 1785 Salon under the title The Oath of the Horatii, between their Father's Hands.

The story was taken from Titus-Livy. We are in 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.

014. Napoleon Crossing the Alps by Paul Delaroche (1848).

(Title contributed by Jan Davis)  Title confirmed at Louvre Museum web site.

015.  Woman Drinking with Soldiers, 1658, by Dutch Painter Pieter de Hooch. Oil on Canvas. (title contributed by Christina Spurgin)

016. St Michael and the Dragon, 1505, by Raphael (Florence, 1483-1520)

For centuries Raphael has been considered the supreme High Renaissance painter, more versatile than Michelangelo and more prolific than their older contemporary Leonardo.

His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur.  (Title and comments contributed by Olga Milner)

017. Saint George Fighting the Dragon, Rafael, 1505

018. Napoleon's Coronation by David, 1808

In 1806, Napoleon threw himself a spectacular coronation ceremony at Notre-Dame Cathedral. He then hired the artist Jacques-Louis David to commemorate it all on a canvas measuring over 500 square feet.

Both outsized acts suggest that Napoleon was an early 19th-century leader with an almost 20th-century understanding of the cult of political personality and the sophisticated craft of shaping public image. ďNapoleonís Coronation by DavidĒ at the Louvre (until January 17) is an opportunity to learn more about this period in history by revisiting one of the museumís most popular paintings.

Davidís enormous ode to power is a sublime piece of political propaganda, as meticulously crafted as the ceremony it depicts. But even though it is one of Davidís most well-known works, it is far from his best. Earlier classically-inspired hymns to Revolutionary ideals (Oath of the Horatii, Brutus) are what made the artistís reputation in the 1780s.
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