BEAUFORT, Jacques-Antoine
(b. 1721, Paris, d. 1784, Reuil)

The Oath of Brutus

Oil on canvas, 129 x 167 cm
Musée Municipal Frederic Blandin, Nevers

The exact title of the painting: Brutus, Lucretius (father of Lucretia) and Collatinus (her husband) Vow to Avenge her Death and to Drive the Tarquins from Rome.

Probably this is one of the paintings, showing unswerving allegiance to one's country or ideals, which influenced Jacques-Louis David when painting The Oath of the Horatii. (David had seen the painting at the 1771 Salon.)

In the Brutus story, the oath was sworn as a promise of individual revenge against a corrupt monarchy, and it was somewhat inconsistent and redundant to have noble and virtuous Romans swear an oath to affirm a virtue that was beyond question - patriotism. But the motif of the oath allowed David to present a unified and memorable distillation of a highly involved story.