Preview
Preview

The Influence of Jean Jacques Rousseau Essay

No Works Cited
Length: 1253 words (3.6 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Purple      
Open Document




- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Eighteenth-century philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau influenced many French revolutionaries with his ideas. In the time of the Enlightenment, people believed that humankind could progress and improve through the use of reason and science. One of them was French artist Jacques-Louis David, who was official artist to the French revolution (p158, Blk 3). Just as Rousseau had used his publications to reflect on his ideas, David had used art as a media to reflect the ideas and values of the society in the eighteenth century. In this essay, we will be examining the influence of Rousseau’s views on the relationship between the state and the individual in David’s painting “The Oath of the Horatii”.

Rousseau’s publication, The Social Contract, states that “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”. His belief is that everyone is equal and nobody has authority over anyone else. This was the source of the revolutionaries’ ideas (p96 Blk 3). In order to be free while ‘living in society’, Rousseau’s solution is that the individual adopts the general will. This view is also reflected in David’s painting “The Oath of the Horatii”.

David’s Neoclassical style was austere and reflected on reason and the clear moral principles of Rousseau’s ideas. “The Oath of the Horatii” depicts the presenting of arms from Horatius to his sons. This demonstrates an act of patriotism as one of the brothers and the sister was related by marriage to the enemy Curiatii. He draws on the classical story by the ancient historian Livy, to reflect patriotism and selflessness. The story would have been familiar to the educated contemporaries of David, and this kind of knowledge was important to the Enlightenment (p166, Blk 3). The particular point where the brothers choose between the country and their personal desires deliberately sets people thinking about the message of patriotism. It is a representation of a kind of patriotic heroism or duty in which the best interests of society are put before those of the individual (p177, Blk 3). The brothers in choosing to go into battle, has chosen political duty over family allegiance. This reflects Rousseau’s views that the individual puts aside their particular wills and adopts the general will in the interest of the state.

The act of selflessness reflects Rousseau’s views of the general will. According to Rousseau, the general will is that wh...


... middle of paper ...


...look on the women. This reflects Rousseau’s view that women should be passive and weak, while men should be active and strong (p96, Blk 3).

David’s use of clear bold lines and the austere background seems to reflect simplicity. There is a minimum of distraction in the painting. David even removed the bases on the columns for greater simplicity (TV12). This reflects frugality in an age where luxury is being frowned upon (p.174, Blk 3). Rousseau also believes that it is wrong when people are driven by their own desires.

From examining The Oath of the Horatii, it is clear that an art piece can be shaped by the ideas and values of the society and Rousseau’s views had a significant influence in the painting. Rousseau expressed his views in his publications and David had used art as a vehicle for expressing his views in visual form.

No of words : 1199

Biliography


Open University. Block 3: History, Classicism and Revolution. Milton Keynes: OU Press 1997

An Introduction to the Humanities. Resource Book 2. Milton Keynes: OU Press, 1997

An Introduction to the Humanities. Illustration Book

TV12 – Art: A Question of Style The Open University

CD5 – AC2334 Part 2 The Open University


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
The Influence of Jean Jacques Rousseau Essay - Eighteenth-century philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau influenced many French revolutionaries with his ideas. In the time of the Enlightenment, people believed that humankind could progress and improve through the use of reason and science. One of them was French artist Jacques-Louis David, who was official artist to the French revolution (p158, Blk 3). Just as Rousseau had used his publications to reflect on his ideas, David had used art as a media to reflect the ideas and values of the society in the eighteenth century....   [tags: essays research papers] 1253 words
(3.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Comparing Locke´s Natural Law with Rousseau´s Discourse on Inequality -   The relationship between nature, the state and individuals is a complex one; political philosophers have been studying these relationships ever since the dawn of time, with the goal being to determine the best way in which the people relate to nature. Based on the ideas of philosopher John Locke, the state does not have the ability to infringe upon the right of people to determine their own destiny; he believes that mankind’s best state is to bring the best parts of their natural instincts into society, collecting together into a “state of perfect freedom.” Conversely, philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau believed that mankind was at its best in its natural state, behaving like an animal and...   [tags: John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau]
:: 3 Works Cited
2789 words
(8 pages)
Research Papers [preview]
A Phenomenal Figure: Jean-Jacques Rousseau Essay - A Phenomenal Figure: Jean-Jacques Rousseau The enlightenment era was a time where many philosophers lived. Their works helped benefit society and the bewilderment the state lived in. In this era, enlightenment thinkers were identified to give basis to philosophy that was independent from tradition, culture and religion. These philosophers were known to have written theories on politics, education, society, nature, nurture, etc. A critical philosopher from that era who attacked all these ideas and many more was Jean Jacques Rousseau....   [tags: Philosohpy]
:: 5 Works Cited
1189 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Jean-Jacques Rousseau's The Social Contract Essay - The problem is to find a form of association … in which each, while uniting himself with all, may still obey himself alone, and remain as free as before.’ Does Rousseau have a convincing solution to the problem he poses. The opening line of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's influential work 'The Social Contract' (1762), is 'man is born free, and he is everywhere in chains. Those who think themselves masters of others are indeed greater slaves than they'. These are not physical chains, but psychological and means that all men are constraints of the laws they are subjected to, and that they are forced into a false liberty, irrespective of class....   [tags: Sociology Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1773 words
(5.1 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Jean Jacques Rousseau Essay - Jean Jacques Rousseau Throughout his life, Rousseau suffered from severe emotional distress, and feelings of deep inferiority and guilt. Rousseau's actions and writings reflect his attempts to overcome this sense of inadequacy and to find a place in world that only seemed to reject him. His political philosophy influenced the development of the French Revolution, and his theories have had a great impact on education and literature. Jean Jacques Rousseau was born in Geneva, Switzerland on June 28, 1712 and later died on July 2, 1778....   [tags: Papers] 929 words
(2.7 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Differing Views on Humans as Portrayed by William Golding in Lord of the Flies and Jean Jacques Rousseau - In the book “Lord of the Flies” written by William Golding, Golding has a certain type of philosophy that he applies throughout the book. The main idea of Golding’s philosophy is that people were naturally cruel and that if there were no rules people would fight, rob, and kill. A little later on there was another philosopher named Jean Jacques Rousseau. Rousseau’s philosophy opposed Golding’s philosophy by believing that humans in their normal state are at the most part good. I believe that some of Golding’s philosophy is correct and that some of it is wrong....   [tags: philosophy, society, belief]
:: 2 Works Cited
566 words
(1.6 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Jean Jacques Rousseau Essay - He draws the line between their abilities to perform acts, whether general or particular, concluding that the sovereign may create general rules, but that the government must create the particular rules. By definition, the sovereign is "The person, body, or state in which independent and supreme authority is vested; especially, in a monarchy, a king, queen, or emperor" (Dictionary.com), therefore it possesses the ability to create rules and laws, as it is the authoritative body of a land. However, being that the sovereign's power comes from the people that it rules over, it should act for the general good of them....   [tags: Philosophy] 979 words
(2.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Origins of Morality Essay - The moral philosophy that we know and recognize today in the Western world is slave morality, a morality which puts forward ideals of fairness, equality, and democracy. However, many centuries ago during the medieval times, master morality was the norm; a morality that favors those superior in strength, beauty, intelligence, and status. Master morality preceded slave morality. Friedrich Nietzsche was a philologist, who used his knowledge of words to trace the origins of morality from their ancient definitions....   [tags: Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean Jacques Rousseau] 1399 words
(4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Conforming to Invisibility Essay - In his Discourse on the Arts and Sciences, philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau addresses a possibility seldom discussed by neither his predecessors nor contemporaries; the idea that arts and sciences have corrupted man. Prior to the introduction of the arts and sciences, man, in the State of Nature, was natural and easily identifiable. While human nature was still flawed, as has always been the case, there was a degree of security in knowing that a person’s character could be immediately seen and interpreted....   [tags: Philosophy, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Arts, Sciences]
:: 2 Works Cited
923 words
(2.6 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
A Discourse on Inequality Essay - A Discourse on Inequality In Rousseau’s book “A Discourse On Inequality”, he looks into the question of where the general inequality amongst men came from. Inequality exists economically, structurally, amongst different generations, genders, races, and in almost all other areas of society. However, Rousseau considers that there are really two categories of inequality. The first is called Natural/Physical, it occurs as an affect of nature. It includes inequalities of age,, health, bodily strength, and the qualities of the mind and soul....   [tags: Jean Jacques Rousseau Inequality Essays] 1445 words
(4.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]