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

Portrait of Pierre Sériziat

1795
Oil on canvas, 129 x 95 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

When David was released from the Luxembourg prison at the end of December 1794, he became ill and so requested permission from the Convention to visit his wife's sister and her husband, Emilie and Pierre Sériziat, at their country house in Saint Ouen, near Tournan-en-Brie, about 32 km (20 miles) east of Paris. This visit was cut short by the accusations of May 1795 and arrest, but he returned there, accompanied by a guard, to recuperate after his second and final release in August. He then painted the portraits of his hosts. Unusually for David, the lawyer Pierre Sériziat is posed out of doors seated on his coat spread over a rock, an elegant and leisured country gentleman and reminiscent of English portraits by Reynolds and George Romney.

These two portraits were testaments of friendship and, by showing them at the 1795 Salon, he could prove that he was still able to paint after his ordeals.




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