What Is The Symbolism In The Death Of Socrates

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Jacques-Philip-Joseph de Saint-Quentin was born in Paris in 1738. He painted works of art during the famous Rococo period. Unlike many Rococo period pieces, “The Death of Socrates” focused on the anatomy and muscularity of the human body. The painting itself is full of symbolism. At first glance, the eye gravitates toward the center of the piece where Socrates himself is draped in a bright yellow robe with a white garment lying over him. You see the darkness on his face as he grips his chest. This picture shows him shortly after drinking the hemlock from the goblet strewn on the floor by his feet. All attention is being focused on the events unfolding in the middle of the room. The characters to the left and right of Socrates are painted in muted colors in order the draw attention away from them. The light shines down on Socrates, illuminating him while others are cast in the …show more content…
One looks to even be begging Socrates to go against his principles in order to live. Next, there is a character that is covering his face in anguish. Socrates is holding him back to keep him from intervening. This shows how strongly he stood behind his principles and teachings. This is believed to be Plato in his younger years when he attended his trial. His most loyal student, Crito, is seen on the right side of Socrates. On the far right side are soldiers cast in the darkest light of all characters shown in the scene. Socrates and Plato are painted in sharp and angular positions, showing that they were heavily based on principles; however, the students to the left were painted in curved positions showing that they were weak and driven by passion. The number of characters in this scene has decreased to ten, instead of the original fifteen members that were present at his death. This decrease in characters simplifies the painting, yet still portrays the same chaos as fifteen characters would

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