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As Roe ends, Jacques-Louis David’s 1789 painting brings hope for women in the United States



By: Andrew Cheng


After the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, this decision caused many negative physical and emotional consequences. The author describes that she felt, as many other women felt after hearing the news, visceral actions, such as tightening her throat, nausea, and headaches. The author argues that, unfortunately, the reactions and responses of those females have been considered “hysterical” overreactions. As the author said, this criticism is very familiar to females, as their feelings are constantly being dismissed, mocked, or used against them.


Surprisingly the author turned into an unlikely place during this difficult and regressive time, an 18th-century representation of women overcome with emotion.


When we first look at the painting “The Lictors Bringing Brutus the Bodies of His Sons” by Jacques-Louis David, it depicts one of the first Roman consuls sitting in shadows as his officers bring in the corpses of his two sons. His sons are executed for alleged treason. This paint is created to glorify the eve of the French Revolution. On the left side of the painting is the stoical Brutus, the hero, while on the right is a grieving woman.


This painting has given the author a lot of emotional resonance to her real life. First, she found a connection in the warrior-like emotion in the painting. The women in the painting feel anger, shock, and grief but don’t look weak but brave. The author takes cues from the image where stoicism has been pushed to the shadows, leaving emotion in the light. Also, it has brought up the opinion that we should not only respect the people who still carry their duties after getting involved in trauma and justice, but also the people who interrupt and stop those.

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