Jacques-Louis David - The Death of Socrates

Jacques-Louis David - The Death of Socrates - 1787
Metropolitan Museum of Art

It is the story of Socrates’s execution, as told by Plato in Phaedo. In this story, Socrates, as punishment for criticizing Critias, the tyrant of Athens, is told he must either drink the poison hemlock or face exile. Socrates, rather than fleeing, uses his death as a final lesson for his pupils, and faces it calmly. David’s version of the Death of Socrates contains many historical inaccuracies. For simplicity, he removed many characters, including the wife of Socrates. However, he included Apollodorus, the man leaning against the wall just within the arch, even though he said to have been sent away by Socrates for displaying too much grief. He also misrepresented the ages of many of the pupils of Socrates, including Plato. Plato would have been a young man at the time of Socrates’s death, but in this painting he is the old man sitting at the foot of the bed. See the original: http://bit.ly/1H1EzEK