Saturday, October 22, 2005

Blog Number 40 - Painting of King Leonidas and the '300' Spartans by Jacques-Louis David

The most famous painting of King Leonidas is unquestionably Jacques-Louis David's 'Leonidas at Thermopylae' which David began painting in 1798 and which took a very long time to complete since it took over a decade before it was first exhibited in 1814. King Leonidas of Sparta is depicted in the foreground and seems to be highlighted by bright light while the warriors around him are smaller and a shade darker emphasizing the heroic qualities of the central character in the painting.

What is noticable is that many of the poses and figures used by David referred to classical prototypes which depicted classical warriors in the nude. This became a source of debate during David's time because Leonidas, his 300 Spartiates and the other Greek warriors were clad in armor during the Battle of Thermopylae.

The original painting currently hangs in the Louvre Museum in Paris which is befitting since the artist was of French extraction.

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