The Death of Socrates

8 minutes

Can philosophy and morals be transmitted through a painting?

The French painter Jacques-Louis David was a pre-eminent figure in the Neoclassical movement. His painting ‘The Death of Socrates’ (1787), based on Plato’s account of the execution of Socrates for blasphemy in 399 BC, is widely considered a seminal Neoclassical work. This video essay from the US filmmaker called The Nerdwriter, breaks down the ‘interplay of historical, personal, political and aesthetic elements’ that make David’s painting not just technically impressive, but a masterwork that conveys deep ethical concerns through visual storytelling.

Director: Evan Puschak

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