Synopses & Reviews
In this comprehensive new book, Simon Lee employs the most up-to-date scholarship to present a view of European artist Jacques-Louis David (1748-1845) that incorporates artistic, political and social concerns. It also deals with his career and character and traces his changing relationships with his patrons.150 color illustrations.
Simon Lee presents a view of Jacques-Louis David that incorporates artistic, political and social concerns. He deals with all aspects of David's career and character, tracing his progress from his student years in Rome, through his time as Napoleon's chief artist, to his exile in Brussels.
More than any other artist, Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825) is identified with the dramatic upheaval of the French Revolution. As a liberal politician, he welcomed the promise of social change; as an artist he used his brush to glorify the Revolution's heroes and martyrs. When the political tide changed, David became Napoleon's chief painter, capturing the imperial pomp and contributing to the cult of military heroism.
In this engrossing account Simon Lee argues that David was the single most important European painter of the age, perfecting a style of dramatic and noble painting that matched exactly the contemporary desire for morally elevating images. A leading exponent of what was to be termed Neoclassicism, he was, however, capable of departing considerably from its ideals of understatement and restraint. Lee's account is the first to trace all aspects of David's career, from his intellectual interests to his entrepreneurial skills and his relationships with patrons. Drawing on the most recent research, he analyses David's stylistic innovations, his political engagement, his search for new audiences, and his changing attitudes to the depiction of virtue and patriotism.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 342-345) and index.