Bonaparte (1798) by Jacques-Louis David

Bonaparte - Jacques-Louis David - 1798

Artwork Information

ArtistJacques-Louis David
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions31 7/8 x 25 5/8 in
Art MovementNeoclassicism
Current LocationMusée du Louvre, Paris
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About Bonaparte

In 1798, Jacques-Louis David began painting an unfinished portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte to represent him at the Battle of Rivoli. This portrait was meant to show him holding the Treaty of Campo Formio but was never completed. Despite its incompletion, it remains one of David’s most famous works – a testament to his revolutionary style and influence.

Jacques-Louis David was a prominent French artist who embodied the Neoclassicism style, which united classical subjects with moral philosophies of the Enlightenment era. He served as the official painter for many regimes, ranging from Louis XVI to Napoleon Bonaparte.

David’s life and work were deeply intertwined with those on whom he painted. His portraits were known for their personalization, capturing not only their physical features but also their character and spirit. This is evidenced in his unfinished portrait of Bonaparte, whose facial expression displays strength and determination despite his young age.

Overall, Jacques-Louis David’s legacy continues to inspire artists today as many try to capture raw emotion through portraiture in a similar manner – revealing not just what someone looks like but who they truly are inside.

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