Primary Source

The Tennis Court Oath at Versailles by Jacques–Louis David

  • Print depicting unity of the Third Estate

Annotation

This amazingly rich sketch by Jacques–Louis David is one of the most famous works from the French revolutionary era. The thrust of the bodies together and toward the center stand for unity. The spectators, including children at the top right, all join the spectators. Even the clergy, so villified later, join in the scene. Only one person, possibly Marat, in the upper left–hand corner, turns his back on the celebration. And, in fact, David is commemorating a great moment of the Revolution on 20 June 1789, in which the deputies, mainly those of the Third Estate, now proclaiming that they represent the nation, stand together against a threatened dispersal.

Louis-David, 1791, Musée national du Château de Versailles et de Trianon

Transcription

Title in French
Le Serment du Jeu de paume

Credits

@Photo RMN - Gérard Blot

How to Cite This Source
The Tennis Court Oath at Versailles by Jacques–Louis David in World History Commons,