Born: 30 August 1748
Died: 29 December 1825
Birthplace: Paris, France
Best known as: Court painter of Napoleon
Jacques-Louis David is famous for his huge, dramatic canvasses of Napoleon
and other historical figures, including Oath of the Horatii
(1784), Death of Marat
(1793) and The Sabine Women
(1799). Early in his career he was a leader in the neoclassical movement; later his subjects became more modern and political. David was himself active in the French Revolution as a supporter of Robespierre
and is sometimes called the chief propagandist for the Revolution; after the Reign of Terror ended he was briefly imprisoned for his actions. When Napoleon took power David became his court painter and created several grand canvasses of the Emperor, including the heroic Napoleon Bonaparte Crossing the Alps
(1801) and the enormous Coronation of Napoleon and Josephine
(1807). David also painted Napoleon in His Study
(1812), with its famous image of Napoleon with one hand tucked inside his vest. After Napoleon's ouster David went in exile to Brussels, where he remained until his 1825 death.
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