This picture shows the ancient Roman family of the clan Horatius taking on the challenge of fighting three members of the Curatii family. This fight between the groups of three would decide the outcome of the war between Rome and Alba Longa. The father holds the swords that the sons eagerly reach for, showing the commitment of all four men to the cause. The women in the background show expressions of sorrow, a typical artistic expression of the sex. Knowing the legend, one of these women, a sister of the brothers, will be killed upon the surviving brother's return for mourning the loss of her Curatii fiance over the death of her other two brothers. Painted a few years before the French Revolution, David's painting symbolizes unwavering support for the state and its endeavors. It urged the French to go with what was best for the state---the impending revolution---rather than the individual pleas of secular or clerical mouthpieces.