Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825) was the most important European
artist in a period of extraordinary upheaval. A participant in the
French Revolution, he then witnessed the rise and fall of Napoleon
Bonaparte. A revolutionary in both art and life, David took
painting away from the frivolity of the Rococo towards the dramatic
moral force of neoclassicism. Passionate, intense, fiercely
ambitious and a shrewd businessman, David brought to life in his
paintings the heroic deeds of the ancient world, commemorated the
revolutionary years in France and glorified the reign of Napoleon.
In this comprehensive book Simon Lee employs up-to-date scholarship
to present a view of David that incorporates artistic, political
and social concerns. It deals with all aspects of his career and
character and traces his changing relationships with his patrons.
Lee follows David's career from his early student years in Rome,
through his time as chief artist to the revolutionary government
and Napoleon, to his life in exile in Brussels.