The Painting of History: The Present in the Past or the Past in the Present?

Through the review of the five individual cases of the artists Jacques-Louis David, Benjamin West, Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, Eugene Delacroix and John Trumbull, it is shown how historical painting since the late XVIIIth Century presents a reinterpretation of the meaning of history and the facts of the past in their respective present. Although history painting is not a new genre at the end of the XVIIIth Century, it did have clear guidelines highly respected in academic circles in the West. The novelty is that a new view of history is approached, in tune with present needs is configured from the paintings. In this sense, assuming each of the artworks analyzed as the solution to a problem, every art work is deciphered as a solvent contribution.