The Ballgame Oath

The Ballgame Oath
The Ballgame Oath

In these two paintings we see two representations of the same historical event: the Oath of the Ball Game on June 20, 1789 that would lead to the beginning of theFrench Revolution.

In the first case we see the work that Jacques Louis David painted, on a date very close to the event itself, since he painted this canvas between 1790 and 1791. And in fact, David became in some way a chronicler of these events and others that occurred later with works such as the Coronation of Napoleon or the canvas of A Marat. And even David himself was akin to revolutionary principles and participated as a member of the National Convention.


David's Ball Game Oath

In short, Jacques Louis David is a painter of his time, both for his themes and for his style, purely neoclassical. And even when, as aneoclassical artisthe resorts to mythological themes or those of Antiquity, he does so with a clear vocation for a message applied to his historical moment

But this relationship between his present and the classical past is also presented in reverse, since for example in this painting we see that he has been inspired by the sculptures of Rome, to paint his figures, his gestures and gestures, undoubtedly typical of imperial statuary.


Mirabeau and Dreux-Brézé by Alexandre Fragonard

And the second of the works that wepresents the episode of the Oath of the Ball Game, it is a canvas treasured by the Louvre Museum in Paris and made by Alexandre Fragonard, several years later of the historical fact, since he does not know for sure when he executed it, but without a doubt it was already at the beginning of the 19th century.

Alexandre Fragonard was the son of one of the greatest Rococo painters in France, since his father wasJean Honoré Fragonardauthor of such emblematic canvases as The Swing or The stolen kiss. But if his father dedicated himself to painting court scenes, Alexandre opted for historical themes, much more typical of his artistic moment.

And an example of this is this work whose title is Mirabeau and Dreux-Brézé, which are the names of the two protagonists of the scene. The first as a representative of the demands of the people, while Dreux-Brézé (in the center of the painting) acted as a representative ofKing Louis XVIto transfer the demands of the people to him. Although, on that date in June, the monarch still did not know that the following month he would end up being beheaded on the guillotine.

Worse going back to the purely pictorial, Fragonard's canvas is different from David's in several respects. To begin with, in style, while the former is neoclassical it is much more romantic, because Fragonard specialized in making this type of interpretation of historical events, in which there is no lack of details that give it a heroic tone, such as the beam of light that illuminates the two characters, especially Mirabeau, who although it is on the left side of the canvas, it takes on a lot of prominence due to its gesture and lighting.

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