DAVID, Jacques-Louis
(b. 1748, Paris, d. 1825, Bruxelles)


Oil on canvas, 64 x 53 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

If little else were known of David, the self-portrait that he painted in May 1791 certainly looks the image of a Romantic. Painted rapidly, with a spontaneous touch, it shows an excited, even wild young man, with freely curling hair, eyes aglow with almost visionary zeal. He is looking slightly dishevelled and with a piercing gaze, very different from the normally relaxed pose of his sitters and perhaps an indication of the internal conflicts that eventually led him to become a fully committed Republican.