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Jacques-Louis David - French Artist From Art History

Art History - Historical Artists > D > Jacques-Louis David


Historical Artist - Jacques-Louis David (1748 - 1825)

Jacques-Louis David studied under Joseph-Marie Viens, his early training influencing him to paint in a rococo style. From 1775 to 1780, David studied in Italy and developed a stronger, more passionate, and patriotic approach. His paintings around this time were also political, as David had joined the National Convention during the French Revolution. Because of this, David was almost executed at the demise of his group, but was saved by his royalist wife. Still engaged with politics, David became involved with Napoleon, but was forced to move to Brussels when he was overthrown. 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 chiming 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. David had a huge number of pupils, making him the strongest influence in French art of the early 19th century, especially academic Salon painting.

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