Summary and Analysis of Grigsby’s Argument





Painting is a form of art that helps artists to express their inner feelings and emotions. This paper will discuss the arguments presented by Grigsby on the painting of “the Intervention of the Sabine women” which was created by Jacques-Louis David.

In summary of the history of art, Jacques-Louis David was one of the most renowned artists in the society. During his time in prison, he was able to put up a painting from his imaginative and creative mind (Grigsby, 319). The painting that was known as “the intervention of the Sabine women” presented men in the society negatively. David presented the men in his painting as being nude which was not an acceptable thing in the society. Despite, the painting hanging in various museums in the society today, it raises controversial issues that are worth investigation. This is the reason, why Grigsby was concerned about the image portrayed by the painting. First off, Grigsby is much concerned about the reasons why David portrayed the men in his painting as nude while the women were well covered. Grigsby is concerned about the content of the painting since it is contrary to the societal expectations (Grigsby, 320). In light of this, she termed the painting as having been improper and historically inaccurate. Her argument seems to be solid since most of the scholars in the society were not only concerned with the issue of presenting the male gender but also on the female intervention issue. However, the two issues were both considered separately by scholars.

Grigsby shows a lot of connection that arises between artists and the people in the society. Most of the artistic works that are presented by artists to the society play a role in the process of mounting individual or social characters. In her argument, she shows that artists tend to influence the fashion of many people in the society. This has been observed in many societies where people tend to do their dressing based on some factors presented by popular artists (Grigsby, 326). Basing her argument on David’s painting, Hersilia was a woman who was likened to the real women of post-revolutionary France. According to Grigsby, David as artists was responsible for the collapse of such popular high art and classical fashion. Hersilia, as depicted by Grigsby was one of the women that dressed based on the female protagonist of David’s pre-revolutionary paintings (Grigsby, 329). For this reason, the presentation of the “Intervention of the Sabine women’ negatively influenced people’s fashion in the society.

Further, it is evident from Grigsby’s argument that most of the art that is presented by artists arises from societal issues. The male who is presented as being nude is seen as a reflection of the modern man stripped bare, humiliated before the society due to his vulgar cultural practices. This description given by Grigsby on how the men are portrayed from their immorality is viable evidence.

In making her arguments regarding David’s painting, she uses historical information that she relates to modern happenings. She does an analysis of the works of art that were presented in the past and how they played a role in influencing the society. Most of them influenced the society positively while some of the art led to a collapse of morality among other factors in the society.

Her argument is captivating in that she is sure to back up the information presented with solid evidence. Grigsby has an opinion which she strongly stands for in regard to David’s painting. All through her argument, she is focused on criticizing the painting in that it has the positive impact on the society in terms of morality, fashion among other factors. Therefore, she is incredibly staunch in supporting her argument on the painting of “intervention of Sabine women’. Further, Grigsby is not only concerned on how the artist portrayed the male gender in the painting but also the female gender. Therefore, she was not biased in her argument in relation to the piece of art.

However, a part of her argument is not interesting enough. Grigsby is seen to so much focus on the negative aspects of the painting rather than appreciate the outstanding piece of art work. Despite the inaccurate depiction of the male and female gender presented in the painting, Grigsby should have pointed out the positive aspects of the painting in the long run. This part did not seem interesting throughout the arguments she presented.

In conclusion, art should be used in the society to pass important information. As a medium of communication to the society, artists should consider the elements they use to present their intended information to their target audience. It is evident that a piece of art could cause great impact on the society either positively or negatively. For this reason, all artists should be careful in the design and presentation of their artwork to the audiences.







Works cited

Grigsby, Darcy Grimaldo. “Nudity a la grecque in 1799.” The art bulletin June 1998: 311-335. Stable URL:



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