Rousseau, the Individual, the State, and David’s The Oath of the Horatii

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Rousseau, the Individual, the State, and David’s The Oath of the Horatii

Rousseau’s view on the relationship between the individual and the state and David’s painting ‘The Oath of the Horatii’ are two different genres with the same views, having French Revolution as the connecting factor. David’s painting is not done for art sake but rather an art for the people sake. His painting does not include only aesthetic purposes but includes with ulterior motives. David has a preconceive notion in his mind and has decided to give a pictorial representation of the preconceived notion and exploits all his techniques to ensure what is in his mind. It is because of Rousseau’s impact of philosophy that David was able to use his medium of painting to
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The male figures were painted with tones of bright red, brown, blue and grey for their clothes and this suggests that they might dress in preparation for war. David has included a posture and a gesture of patriotic men when he painted the
Horatii with their arms outstretched and respective leg forward. He has defined the firm and determination look on the Horatii when he painted their raising eyebrows, the direction of eyes towards the sword and the slight smile on their faces. These postures, gestures and choice of colours suggest that particular will has been sacrificed for the sake of the general will of upholding the political duty.

The Horatii might come to a conclusion of a general will to offer their lives on behalf of their country. But how do we determine what is general will? Rousseau believes that if we all think in a clear-headed and rational way, the answer should be the one each of us arrives at. Rousseau added that the best procedure to determine the general will is to take a vote that is free from corruption.
Individuals whose answer differs from the majority must have not thought rationally, and hence can be forced to adopt the general will.
The Horatii might have voted to come with a conclusion on whether to fight for their country and engage duels with their own family members who are related to the Curatii or to put a stand of not committing their lives and their family members at risk. If one of the Horatii’s

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