SUVÉE, Joseph-Benoit
(b. 1743, Brugge, d. 1807, Roma)


Flemish painter from Bruges. He was always referred to by Jacques-Louis David as 'l'ignare Suvée', and was, like David, a pupil of Vien, and David's lifelong rival for the leadership of Neoclassicism in France. He came from Bruges to Paris and won the Prix de Rome against David in 1771, spending a year at the École des Élèves protégés, and then going to Rome 1772-78, after which he returned to Paris and became Agréé (1779) and Member of the Academy (1780) and Painter to the King. He returned to Rome as Director of the French Academy there, in 1792, but lost his job when David became dictator of the arts. He was imprisoned (like David) under the Terror. 1794-95, but was reappointed to Rome by Napoleon in 1801 and remained there until his death. His works are now largely forgotten, but there are several in Bruges and others in French provincial museums, including Besançon and Lille.

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