Jacques-Louis David: The Death of Socrates, Part II

Jacques-Louis David (Paris 1748-1825 Brussels), The Death of Socrates, graphite, compass, ruler, brush and brown ink, pen and black ink, partially squared for transfer in graphite 11 x 16 3/8 in. (27.8 x 41.6 cm.), Image Source: Christie’s

“In addition to being an essential step in the elaboration of the Metropolitan picture, the present drawing is a fascinating document for our understanding of David’s working method. He first traces different lines of perspective and outlines in graphite the décor with the help of a ruler. He then adds, still using graphite, the figures represented naked and rapidly sketched. He returns a number of times to these figures leaving apparent many pentimenti in, for example, the position of Socrates’ legs or the arm of the slave holding the poisoned chalice. Finally, with the help of an assured pen and black ink, he goes over the contours of the figures in the positions he wants to adopt. Then he draws clothes over their nude forms…”


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Tag: Jacques-Louis David’s The Death of Socrates, Part I

High Resolution Images:

Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker, “Jacques-Louis David, The Death of Socrates,” in Smarthistory, October 26, 2022, accessed January 30, 2023, https://smarthistory.org/jacques-louis-david-the-death-of-socrates/.

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Jacques-Louis David at wikiwand

Jacques-Louis David at The Art Story

Thanks for Visiting 🙂


8 Comments Add yours

  1. gabychops says:

    Thank you for your erudite details of the painter’s method of creating his compositions.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. My pleasure, always, Joanna. 🙂🌺


  2. It’s amazing to get insight into a Master’s creative process. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This type of post is one of the (many!) reasons I love to come here. The video is so insightful and interesting to me. It is wonderful and exciting to read about the thought process and how these beautiful paintings are created. Thank you! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trying to understand the process is what I enjoy most. I am so pleased you like this, Sheila. Thanks for adding to the conversation! 😎🌺


  4. David was a superb sketcher, with a great attention to structure and detail. Nice post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so happy you enjoyed this, too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Vivienne. 🙂🌺


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