Belisarius Asking for Alms

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Jacques-Louis David, Belisarius Asking for Alms, 1781

While David traveled to Rome, he was infatuated with historical paintings. This particular one shows a wide range of David's abilities. The detail of of the columns in this painting provide a design necessity. The columns do push down on the figures and split the painting in half. They also create a harsh diagonal, starting from the top left and passing through their arms and slashing into the bottom right. With the flow of the painting, the columns force the work our of balance. The right side is more packed and dark than the right.

The people in the foreground, feel merciful. The man and the child are begging for help, showing weakness that is in need of rescuing. While the woman gives another layer of compassion, understanding, and a maternal hand. The older man is not looking at the woman but is looking up past her face praising God; however, the young boy is communicating more compassion towards the woman.  But the soldier in the background seems to be protesting this offering.

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