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Spanish at Furman University shared a link. David H. Bost, professor emeritus of modern languages and literatures at Furman, delivered the speech for the summer commencement exercises Saturday, Aug.
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This year, over 11, Hispanic youth were enrolled in Greenville public schools. Bhubaneswar Review: an online journal of contemporary literature. Bhubaneswar Review is an online literary journal of contemporary literature. The figures are, as usual, all taken from the antique - the Brutus direct from the statue in the Capitoline. Even the furniture was copied from the antique, and made by the great ebeniste Jacob. But the idea of putting the figure of Brutus in shadow in a corner of the composition seems to me a real stroke of imagination; and the group of mother and daughters, skilfully combining Niobe and a bacchante, is beautifully designed.
It shows that David, contrary to what used to be supposed, was enough of a man of the eighteenth century to be deeply appreciative of femininity. This is obvious enough when one remembers his portraits, but feminine figures also play an essential part in his compositions. His pictures with, if I may so express it, an exclusively male cast, the Socrates and the Leonidas, are painted with considerably less warmth and personal interest.
The reason is that in his greatest paintings the real heart of the drama lies in the conflict between the masculine and the feminine spirit. We are moved precisely because this was a conflict within David himself. In the work which David himself believed to be his masterpiece the feminine actually triumphs.
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The Brutus was exhibited in , and during the next four the movement, in which David's picture had played its part, reached a crisis and completely swamped all those who were connected with it. The artist who succeeds in influencing events leaves the free world of contemplation for the limited world of action; and very soon he finds that he must give up art for politics. David swore the Oath of the Tennis Court, became a member of the Convention, and voted for the death of the King.
Much of his time was spent in organising fetes and processions in which his lack of invention was painfully evident , in designing uniforms and in his administrative problems connected with the Academy. He also found time to begin a vast picture of the Oath of the Tennis Court; which was cut up, so that we can deduce it only from the preliminary drawings.
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He also produced one masterpiece; his memorial to Marat. Pictorally this was a triumph for the classic discipline. David, who was in the habit of pondering every detail, had to paint with great speed, yet the whole design has an air of concentration and finality which is usually the result of prolonged elimination. David's classical training also enabled him to strike a perfect bargain with the deal'. The Death of Marat has a special interest for us today. It proves that totalitarian art must be a form of classicism: the State which is founded on order and subordination demands an art with a similar basis.
Romantic painting, however popular, expresses the revolt of the individual. Inspiration is outside State control. Add the fact that totalitarian art must be real enough to please the ignorant, ideal enough to commemorate a national hero, and well enough designed to present a memorable image, and one sees how perfectly The Death of Marat fills the bill.
That it happens also to be a great work of art makes it dangerously misleading. A few months after completing this picture David's political career was over, and on the 13th of Thermidor he was imprisoned and in danger of his life. His first prison had a pleasant view over the Luxembourg Gardens, which he recorded with a freedom and naturalism that shows he was a born painter. His second prison was less agreeable and rival painters erected a guillotine outside his window.
He also painted a self-portrait  signed 'David in Vinculis'. No imprisonment, no threat of the guillotine even, would have distressed David so greatly as the modern view that he is chiefly memorable for his portraits. He was, indeed, an admirable portrait painter, whose work in this field anyone can enjoy. They are certainly pleasanter to look at than the implacable Brutus; and Madame Seriziat's white dress and bunch of flowers is a foretaste of the 'primitivism' of Ingres also very like early Caravaggio.
While he was in prison David also made the drawing for his next great work, The Sabine women enforcing peace by running between the combatants. The theme has changed from stoic patriotism, which overrides domestic affection, to conciliation effected by the tender emotions. There is no real reason why this theme should have been less inspiring than the sterner moral of his revolutionary works; but unfortunately in the painting's execution other influences intervened.
The drawing made in prison shows the two heroes, Romulus and Tatius, clad in Roman armour. In the picture [14, 1] they are nude. These figures are not only improbable in a field of battle they are also rendered down to the smoothness and vacuity of restored Hellenistic sculpture. David defended their nudity in a pamphlet but the theory of generalised form was considered axiomatic and needed no defence. In the Sabines I shall treat this part of the art with more skill and taste. This painting will be more Greek.
He had always set himself up to be the enemy of academism.
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He would not employ professional models, and although the poses of his figures are taken direct from other works of art - the Romulus, for example, is taken from Flaxman -he always painted them from the life, from friends and pupils, and from a queue of society ladies who waited outside his studio in hope of being immortalised as Roman matrons. His portraits show us how skilfully he could generalise direct from his model, as one can see in his portrait of Madame Verninac . Incidentally, she was Delacroix's sister, and Delacroix kept the picture in his bedroom all his life - another proof of how the conflict between classic and romantic is largely artificial.
In his histories David tuned each form up to the concert pitch of the ideal, and we can perhaps only tell by ear when a string has been screwed too tight. After David, in common with other revolutionaries, adopted a new hero - General Buonaparte; and no man has ever been made to look more heroic than the First Consul, in a totally unrealistic but stunningly effective memorial to his greatest exploit, crossing the Great St Bernard .
The First Consul had inspected the Sabines and made the rather obvious remark that it did not resemble a real battle. Nevertheless, he tried, unsuccessfully, to take David to Egypt on his campaign. On his return Buonaparte visited David again and asked what he was about to paint. The Coronation of Napoleon does not come into the history of classicism, but into that of official painting. To recognize its merits we need only compare it with the attempts to paint the last four coronations in England.
Of course it is more skilful, but it is of the same family. The heads of the ladies are very accomplished, and might have been painted at any epoch - I should have guessed about - but they are not art. They prove the high power of idealization in David's earlier works, even those like the Horatii, which seem realistic. Only when he came to Pope Pius VII  has David been moved by the beautiful Italian modelling of his head, and perhaps by the sentiment patiens quia aeterna, and has given it the lasting charac-ter of form. He also did an independent likeness of the Pope, which shows that he had not lost his powers as a portrait painter.
To say that David betrayed his ideals or allowed himself to be corrupted by Napoleon would be an over-simplification. But, alas, however much an official painter may wish to retain his integrity, the practice of executing commissions and the thousand distractions of public life so sap his powers of concentration that when he returns to the kind of painting which he has always sincerely desired to achieve, he can no longer do so.
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It was courageous of David to return to his Leonidas at Thermopylae , especially at a moment when defeat may have seemed to the Emperor almost too interesting a subject for art; but to my eye the picture is completely dead. David himself seems to have been unconscious of any falling off in his powers, and regarded the Leonidas as at least equal to the Sabines. To understand the reason for this we must read the account of David's intentions preserved by the engraver, who took a proof of the Leonidas for the artist to correct. They are literary and moral. He describes at great length the thoughts that are passing through the hero's mind, and which are all expressed in his head - painted, David says, with inspiration.
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