Jacques-Louis David, “The Death of Socrates” (1787)
Kicking it off. Step 1: LOOK AT IT.
The first step of any visual analysis is basically a game of I/Eye (which one?) spy. We’re going to go nuts here and still not pick up all of the crumbs, but this is just to warm us up and make sure we’re not intimidated to yell out everything we see.
I could have spent two months reading 1/80 of the academic articles written by art historians who have dedicated their lives to thinking about this painting, then regurgitated it to you. But that’s not the point of SUBTTLD. I have to go through the same process as you, stepping into a gallery, confronted with a work, vulnerable, just reading the hell out of it. No fear.
Over the week I will bring two more steps - one will look at a theme brought up by the work and the final step will be applying it to our world, drawing topical usefulness from it. After having zero feelings about this work, the process of creating these stories has really made me love it and what it represents for me. So, jumping into this SUBTTLD rabbit hole, I hope you find artworks that spark (joy?) something for you.