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Writing Challenge 57

Art. Sculptures. Paintings. They are a completed, visual work that can serve to inspire a writer’s blank canvas.

Any work of art may serve as a muse to a writer, and each may speak to the writer in a different manner or not at all. Choosing a work is subjective to the individual, but below is one masterpiece I’ve always been intrigued by and which I use as my example here.

This scene depicts three men, soldiers by their appearance, raising their arms and swearing an oath to a man holding three swords. Women and children avert their eyes and appear to weep tears in sorrow. There is much to see in this seemingly simple scene. Though set in classical times, this setting could be extrapolated to our times or any other in history, inspiring a tale that could be historical, contemporary or even fantastical.

What would you write? Consider the women and who they are. How might they be related to the men? Who are these soldiers and why does one have his arm around another? And who might be the man to whom the oath is sworn? And what is the oath?

Le Serment des Horaces (1784) Jacques-Louis David

Le Serment des Horaces (1784)
Jacques-Louis David

Happy Writing!

Each month, The Poisoned Martini presents a photo to spark your creativity.  Because of their visual nature, images vividly speak to writers and spark ideas for writing.  View the photo above, ponder what you see, and then put pen to paper or finger to keyboard.  Write a scene, a short story, a chapter, a novella, or maybe even a novel.

The Oath of the Horatii, an oil on canvas painting done in the Neoclassical style, hangs in the Louvre in Paris. French painter Jacques-Louis David (1748 – 1825) depicts a scene from a Roman legend. Two cities, Rome and Alba Longa, are at war. Three brothers, the Horatii of Rome, swear an oath to duel three fighters, the Curiatii of Alba Longa, to end the war. The woman in white is Camilla, a sister to the Horatii, is betrothed to one of the Curiatii and weeps knowing that someone she loves will surely die.

Last month’s challenge featured a Christmas display to spur stories with a Christmas in July theme. The photo was taken in December 2012 at the Middlebury Inn in Middlebury, Vermont.



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  1. Writing Challenge 58 – The Poisoned Martini
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