Jacques-Louis David

Jacques-Louis David Self portrait of Jacques-Louis David, 1794, Musée du Louvre

Jacques-Louis David was an influential French painter in the Neoclassical style, considered to be the preeminent painter of the era. In the 1780s his cerebral brand of history painting marked a change in taste away from Rococo frivolity toward a classical austerity and severity, heightened feeling harmonizing with the moral climate of the final years of the Ancien Régime.

David later became an active supporter of the French Revolution and friend of Maximilien Robespierre (1758–1794), and was effectively a dictator of the arts under the French Republic. Imprisoned after Robespierre’s fall from power, he aligned himself with yet another political regime upon his release, that of Napoleon I. It was at this time that he developed his Empire style, notable for its use of warm Venetian colours. After Napoleon’s fall from power and the Bourbon revival, David exiled himself to Brussels, then in the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, where he remained until his death. David had a large number of pupils, making him the strongest influence in French art of the early 19th century, especially academic Salon painting. Source Wikipedia.


Diana and Apollo Piercing Niobe’s Children with their Arrows (1772)
Leonidas at Thermopylae (1814), Musée du Louvre, Paris
Mars Being Disarmed by Venus and the Three Graces, David’s last great work (1824)
The Anger of Achilles (1825), Private Collection
The Death of Socrates (1787)
Paris and Helen (1788), Musée du Louvre, Paris (detail)

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