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1789 Painting of Grieving Women Brings Unlikely Comfort as Roe vs. Wade Falls

By: Jessie Sha

While Roe vs. Wade is falling, a painting created by Jacques Louis David, is creating unlikely comfort for women. When you first look at this painting, it looks like it’s only a sexist stereotype, however, this painting was created to represent one of the first Roman consuls sitting in the shadows as his officers bring in the dead bodies of his sons. His sons were killed by him because of treason. On the left, Brutus is the hero and the women on the right represent the danger of letting your emotions get the best of you. That is what the story is.

However, Kelsey Ables wasn’t convinced that this was David’s point even after seeing the piece herself. As spring left and a dark summer came, Kelsey claimed that women kept coming back to her. She thought of the bold, full-bodied anguish, where it calls protection. Women like “The Lictors,” were doing the protection from the emotional burden, so when Roe was overturned, Kelsey found a warrior like protection to emotion like how the women were in the painting.

Kesley said that the first time she saw “The Lictors” was very different. She says that her angst might have been better smoothed with something nostalgic, but instead she turned to the direction of Brutus’s dead son's feet. She even said that she couldn’t stop looking at them.

Kesley said that to her the feet were like a big part of life that just goes away without much appreciation. She claimed that the next time she saw it, it was in “The Coronation of Napoleon,” (a painting near “The Lictors” painting) which she said had an urge to go the other direction. Now she says, “In a post-Roe reality, instead of regarding our emotions with skepticism or shame, we might embrace them with head-lifting, spine-straightening pride.”

Good job with the edits! Just keep in mind to read the original article carefully; these aren’t easy topics, but for the most part you handle them really well!

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