(b. 1748, Paris, d. 1825, Bruxelles)
The Combat of Mars and Minerva1771
Oil on canvas, 146 x 181 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris
The works young David produced for the Prix de Rome were in the decorative and rather playful style of the day, and gave few hints of the direction that his art would eventually take. In 1770 he was eliminated in the preliminary competition, and in 1771 he came second with The Combat of Mars and Minerva, a subject taken from Homer's Iliad. At the time of the Trojan War, Minerva, goddess of wisdom and supporter of the Greeks, defeated Mars, god of war and an ally of the Trojans, in a battle. After Mars was felled, his lover Venus came to his rescue.