Reference Entry

David, Jacques-Louis

in Benezit Dictionary of Artists

ISBN: 9780199773787
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199899913 | DOI:
David, Jacques-Louis

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  • Painting
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French, 18th – 19th century, male.

Born 30 August 1748, in Paris, France; died 29 December 1825, in Brussels, Belgium.

Painter, draughtsman. History painting, portraits, scenes with figures.


Jacques-Louis David was from a bourgeois family; his father died when he was nine years old, and he was brought up by his uncle, an architect who enabled him to obtain a classical education. In 1766, the painter François Boucher (the cousin of David’s grandmother), who was too old to take him on, advised him to join the studio of Joseph-Marie Vien, a fervent admirer of antiquity. David dreamt of studying the classics in their place of origin, and when he was refused the Prix de Rome three times, he considered giving up painting. His godfather, the poet Michel-Jean Sedaine, persuaded him to persevere. Finally, in 1774, David obtained the first prize with ...

Reference Entry.  4671 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Painting ; 18th-Century Art ; 19th-Century Art

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