The main focus of Jacques-Louis David’s painting, The Tennis Court Oath, is the man standing atop a table in the center of the scene with his right arm raised calmly into the air. Not only is he standing above everyone, but his actual hand is the only thing at that viewing level. His high raised hand signifies the great importance of the oath the he is taking. This man is the leader of the group; this is obvious because everyone else’s arm is in the air, but they are all raised towards him. The people look up to him and raise their arms proudly and strongly as they follow him in taking the oath. This goes to show these men firmly believe in standing for their people and that what they want most is reform. The excitement they show in the picture goes to show the coming of a revolution. People’s faces are excited and enthusiastic. This is metaphorically represented in the top left corner. The windows are open and the curtains are blowing up to show the movement in the wind, the “change” that is coming with the wind.
The Tennis Court Oath depicts actual the meeting of the Third Estate on the tennis courts of Versailles on June 20, 1789. After being locked out of the palace, members of the Third Estate decided that their allegiance was not to the king, but to the people. The Third Estate vowed to stay together until they were able to comprise a constitution. This meeting caused a stir in France and spread the idea of revolution, and eventually led to the French Revolution. The members of the Third Estate featured in the picture went on to form the National Assembly and were the heart and soul of the French Revolution. Without their efforts and dedication the corrupt French Monarchy could never have been overthrown. Jacques-Louis David depicts the revolutionary scene of the Third Estate’s meeting in The Tennis Court Oath. His painting spread ideas of change and revolution.
This sketch is a perfect example of persistence and dedication to a cause or effort. This type of persistence and dedication is specific to the making of a revolution. Without it the French Revolution, or any revolution for that matter, could never have come to be. The Tennis Court Oath shows that even if a corrupt and powerful authority tries to diminish your efforts, that persistence and dedication to your cause pays off. That is exactly what happened for the French and that is what the artist, Jacques-Louis David is trying to show.