Jacques-Louis David is widely regarded as one of the greatest artists of the French Neoclassical movement. He painted his third and final self-portrait in 1794, while being held in prison for supporting the robespierristes during the French Revolution. This particular self-portrait is significant because it includes a facial sword wound on the left side, which likely affected his left facial movement.
David was a versatile artist who won acclaim for his large canvases on classical themes. He served briefly as artistic director of the French Revolution and painted its leaders and martyrs in a realistic style. However, he also had political affiliations that led to him becoming a regicide who voted for Louis XVI’s execution at the National Convention.
The self-portrait is currently housed in Paris’s Louvre Museum alongside other David masterpieces such as The Death of Socrates and Antoine Laurent Lavoisier. Overall, David’s third self-portrait offers insight into his personal life during a tumultuous time in French history and showcases his skillful use of light and shadow to create depth and emotion in his artwork.