JACQUES LOUIS DAVID 1748-1825 Classical School of France
FERDINAND VICTOR EUGÈNE DELACROIX 1799-1863 Romantic School of France
EACH of these pictures -- David's Oath of the Horatii and Delacroix's Dante and Virgil -- represents a breaking away from what had gone before. David's was a protest against the art of Watteau and his successors, Van Loo, Boucher, and Fragonard; Delacroix's, in turn, a protest against the art of David. The one was an attempt to revive the purity of Classic style by going even further back than Poussin, namely to the ancient Roman sculpture itself; the other, to express the fervor of modern life through the medium of romance. David's picture is cold, calculated, and self- conscious; Delacroix's impassioned, less formal in arrangement, the characters being absorbed in their various emotions.
Compare the two pictures, first of all, from the standpoint of their subjects, in each case a dramatic one: David's drawn from the early days of the Roman Republic, Delacroix's from Dante "Inferno." And, first, the David. Jealous of the growing power of the young city, the neighboring tribe of Curiatii has invested it; Rome's very existence is imperiled. There are three bro-