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

Portrait of the Artist

Oil on canvas, 81 x 64 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Having painted relatively few works during the Revolution, David worked with great energy while in prison, possibly using painting as an escape and as tangible evidence that he was a painter and not a politician. A pupil brought painting equipment and materials as well as a mirror which enabled him to paint his second self-portrait.Less agitated than his first effort, in this painting David stares out with a mixture of bewilderment and candour, brush and palette in hand, the tumour in his left cheek very prominent. (Because it was painted with the aid of a mirror, the swollen cheek appears on the right due to the inversion that accompanies a mirror image.) He appears younger than his forty-six years - a characteristic of not only his self-portraits but also some of his portraits.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.