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

Portrait of Pope Pius VII

Oil on canvas, 86 x 71 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

While Pope Pius VII remained in Paris after the consecration, David also painted his portrait and thereby joined an illustrious band of past artists - Raphael, Titian and Velázquez - as the painter of a pontiff. David broke with protocol by sitting down while he worked, as previously tradition had dictated that the humble artist should kneel to paint the Pope. David, though, did appreciate the honour bestowed upon him and apparently put on fine clothes and wore a sword as he worked. He responded warmly to the venerable old pontiff and was both delighted and moved by the benediction that he received from the hand of Pius.