Death of Socrates

Rebirth of Reason

Death of SocratesDeath of Socrates
Jacques-Louis David

The great man, the questioner of premises and originator of some of the first chains of logical thoughts, meets his demise in this painting from the cup of hemlock imposed upon him by majority vote of the Athenian High Court. He remains true to his convictions to the end and, despite the despair and grief of his admirer, stands out as the most resilient character in the entire painting. It is instructive to recall that David was not only a painter, but a political thinker of libertarian inclinations as well. His choice of subject and imagery here may suggest that unfettered majority rule is not the best societal order, as it can without any restraint terminate such colossal individuals as Socrates. This is an ancient parallel to a modern insight that has been expanded upon by the Founding Fathers and Rand and may yet be advanced further.

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G. Stolyarov II

(Added by G. Stolyarov II on 3/05/2004, 5:42pm)

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