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Art History Honors Booklet

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Jacques-Louis David

by Kelsey Lemke

Art History Honors


by Kelsey Lemke

Art History Honors

I chose to do my artist booklet on Jacques-Louis David because I was drawn to his paitnings when I visited the Louvre in Paris last summer.  I wanted to explore more about his life and works.  I love how much detail he uses in his paintings when he is telling a story.  I also admire the portraits he did over his lifetime.  I have included some of my favorites of both.  I hope that you enjoy his work as much as I do!

Jacques-Louis David was born on Aug 30, 1748 in Paris.  His father was killed when he was around nine years old and his mother left him with an uncle.  He received a great education but was not a very good student because he was preoccupied with drawing.  He became an artist despite urging from his family to become an architect like his uncle.  He studied art in both Italy and France.  He eventually married Marguerite Charlotte and had four children.  He died on Dec. 29, 1825 after complications from being hit by a carriage after leaving a theater.

Jacques-Louis David learned from Francois Boucher who was a Rocco painter but ended up sending him to learn from a friend, Joseph-Marie Vien, who embraced the classical reaction to Rocco.  David became one of the most influential artists of the Neoclassical style with his desire to restore ancient Roman values into civil life.  This movement was characterized by the desire to recreate the heroic spirit and decorative style of the art of Greece and Rome.  He taught around 40 to 50 pupils including some young artistis that were involved in the formation of the prestigious Rome Prize.

"Diana and Apollo Piercing Niobe's Children with their Arrows"


Dallas Museum of Art

His works from the late 18th century and early 19th century:

"Diana and Apollo Piercing Niobe's Children with theirArrows"




Musee Thomas-Henry

"The Death of Marat"

late 18C

Olga's Gallery

Portrait of "Pope Pius VII"


Musee du Louvre

"The Coronation of Napolean"

early 19C

Olga's Gallery

Portrait of his wife "Marguerite-Charlotte David"


National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

The work above by David is one of my favorites called "The Oath of Horatii" (1784) which can be found in the Louvre. The Neoclassical style of restore ancient Roman values into civil life is evident in this painting.  These brothers are willing to sacrice their lives for their country.  I like how he used the space to put the focus on these mens heroism.  David uses warm colors and incredible detail.

My favorite works:

Another one of my favorites by David is called "The Intervention of the Sabine Women" (1799), also found in the Louvre. Again the Neoclassical style is shown in the figures and detail of the painting.  I like how he did this painting in honor of his wife and that the theme of the painting is that love prevails over conflict.  I also like how David puts the woman as the focus among all of the action going on.