Jacques-Louis David, French painter
Jacques-Louis David was a highly influential French painter in the Neoclassical style, considered to be the preeminent painter of the era. In the 1780s his cerebral brand
of history painting marked a change in taste away from Rococo frivolity toward
a classical austerity and severity, heightened feeling chiming with the moral climate
of the final years of the ancien régime. David later became an active supporter of the French Revolution and friend of Maximilien Robespierre and was effectively a dictator
of the arts under the French Republic. Imprisoned after Robespierre's fall from power,
he aligned himself with yet another political regime upon his release, that of Napoleon I. David had a huge number of pupils, making him the strongest influence in French
art of the early 19th century, especially academic Salon painting. Jacques-Louis David
was born into a prosperous family in Paris on When he was about nine his father
was killed in a duel and his mother left him with his prosperous architect uncles.
They saw to it that he received an excellent education at the Collège des
Quatre-Nations, but he was never a good student: he had a facial tumor that
impeded his speech, and he was always preoccupied with drawing. Soon, he desired
to be a painter, but his uncles and mother wanted him to be an architect. He overcame
the opposition, and went to learn from François Boucher the leading painter of the time, who was also a distant relative. Personal life: David married Marguerite-Charlotte Pécoul, 1782, the young daughter of a prosperous builder with connections at Louis XVI's court. This marriage brought him money and eventually four children.
Death: He died December 29th, 1825 in Brussels, Belgium.