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- Jean-Antoine WatteauPilgrimage to CytheraEmbarkation for Cythera1717Oil on canvasH: 1.29 m; L: 1.94 m
- Collection of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture
- Rococo 1700-1780
- Are the lovers about to set sail for Cythera, or are they returning from the island of love? The question is still open. This superb painting was the reception piece that Watteau submitted to the French Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture. The subject was so striking and so new that the expression "fête galante" was invented to
- describe it.
Angelica Kauffmann, Cornelia Presenting Her Children, the Gracchi, as Her Treasures (1785). Oil on canvas, 3'4 inches x 4'2 inches Neoclassicism 1780-1815
- In this work Cornelia is shown conversing with another matron. The other woman has come to Cornelia's home on a social call and is showing
- off her new jewels and fancy adornments. When the visitor asks to see Cornelia's gems, Cornelia calls for her two sons, the Gracchi, to come forward, presenting them as her greatest treasures. Her loyalty to her sons and their political careers is well-documented by Roman histories such as Plutarch. Her enduring loyalty and great humility were both often used in art as devices to show the traits most prized in women, and have often come under discussion in debates on gender roles. Kauffman's beautiful and touching rendering of the work is suffused withmaternal feeling and sentiment. Her works, often depicting scenes of motherhood, are beautiful in the clarity and pose with which she
- portrayed people and the emotions driving them.
- **The Gracchi brothers, Tiberius and Gaius, were Roman Plebian nobiles who both served as tribunes in 2nd century BC. They attempted to pass land reform legislation that would redistribute the major patrician landholdings among the plebeians. For this legislation and their membership in the Populares party they have been considered the founding fathers of both socialism and populism. After achieving some early success, both were assassinated for their efforts.
- The painting depicts Marat in his death throes; Charlotte Corday has fled but left behind the knife, which lies near right hand on the floor, and the letter she gave him in introduction which he still holds
- in his left. Its words, "My great unhappiness gives me a right to your kindness" seeks to show Marat in sympathetic light as an powerful individual happy to assist a woman in need. This is further emphasized
- by the letter he was working on previous to their encounter. It sits on his makeshift desk and reads,"You will give this assignat to that mother
- of five children whose husband died in the defense of his country." The wound to his chest is clearly seen against his pale, almost translucentskin. David has painted Marat as a martyr to the Revolution, and thoughhe was seen by many has a dangerous radical this visual representation was applauded and treasured by the Republic for years.