Jacques-Louis David The Death of Socrates (1787) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

I vividly recall learning about David’s Death of Socrates during a history class in my freshman year of high school. I remember the warm glow of the slide as it appeared on the screen and my teacher’s detailed description of the work. On a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art shortly thereafter, I was amazed to see, firsthand, the manner in which David was able to convey the intensity of the moment—through composition and symbolism—all captured in a slick layer of paint on canvas. This was my first foray into the realm of art history.

Stephen Alsa, Library Relations Manager, Domestic