David is a French artist, a representative of neoclassicism - revolutionary classicism, not rejecting the old canons, but rethinking them in his own way. Neoclassicists believed that the artist should not be just an observer, and his main purpose is not just to capture the surrounding reality. They believed that the artist’s mission was to develop people's self-awareness and thinking, to instill in them high moral qualities and aesthetic taste.
So the paintings became for the neoclassicists a means of education, instead of an object of art, while preserving many features of simple classicism, for example, the scale of the paintings and the historicity of the topics chosen.
"Antiochus and Stratonica" is written according to one of the legends, which, perhaps, actually happened. Antiochus I, the son of King Philip, the Macedonian conqueror, who lived about 300 BC, was once very sick. He fought in a fever and gradually dried out, as if something was drinking his life.
The doctors were powerless and could not save the king’s son until the old doctor Erasistratus found the cause of the disease. She turned out to be the destructive passion that exuded the young man - a passion for his stepmother, the beautiful Stratonika. Hearing that his son was dying of love, King Philip gave his young wife Antiochus, and he recovered and became subsequently great.
The picture captures the moment at which the old doctor suddenly understands the nature of the disease of Antiochus. His whole posture speaks of a sudden insight, an outstretched finger indicates a modestly smiling Stratonika. The king is right here, next to him, reaching for the doctor, as if not believing. Antiochus looks into space - his illness is already at the stage when the patient is not able to follow what is happening around.
The colors of the picture are muffled and filled with brightness only in the image of Stratonika, as if emphasizing its beauty.
Painting Perov Rural Religious Procession on Easter