David, Jacques-Louis

BORN 30 Aug 1748, Paris: Quai de la Mégisserie - DIED 29 Dec 1825, Brussel
GRAVE LOCATION Brussel: Cimetière de Bruxelles, Avenue du Cimetière de Bruxelles, Evere (Pelouse 07, Rond-point des Bourgmestres)

Jacques-Louis David was the son of a prosperous merchant. He was educated at the Collège des Quatre-Nations of the University of Paris. His family wanted him to become an architect but he wanted to be a painter and went to François Boucher, who sent him to Joseph-Marie Vien. In1774 he won the Prix de Rome and with Vien he travelled to Rome in 1775. In 1780 he returned to Paris, where he became famous for his portraits and was elected a member of the l'Académie royale de Peinture et de Sculpture. In 1787 he exhibited "La Mort de Socrate" at the Salon.

He was a supporter of the French Revolution, a friend of Robespierre and a member of the Club des Jacobins. He voted for the execution of Louis XVI. In 1793 he made the famous sketch of Marie Antoinette on her way to the scaffold (now at The Louvre, Paris). In that same year his friend Marat was killed by Charlotte Corday and "La Mort de Marat" (1793) is probably his most famous painting. When Robespierre was executed he narrowly escaped the same faith but he was imprisoned in 1794 and again in 1795.

He was impressed by Napoleon and in 1797 he sketched him. I n1799 Napoleon commsioned him to paint his crossing of the Alps. In 1804 he witnessed Napoleon's coronation and he became Royal Painter to the emperor. After Napoleon's fall Louis XVIII granted him amnesty and offered him the position of court painter, but David preferred to leave France and he lived in Brussels afterwards. There he finished his last important work "Mars Being Disarmed by Venus" in 1824.

In 1825 he was struck by a carriage after leaving a theater and he died on 29 December 1825. He was buried in Brussels and his remains were moved to the Cimetière de Bruxelles in 1882.

Related persons
• used as a model Aubry, Thérèse
• was teacher to Bonaparte, Charlotte Napoléon
• was a friend of Denon, Dominique Vivant, Baron de
• was teacher to Fragonard, Alexandre-Évariste
• was teacher to Gérard, François, baron
• was teacher to Gros, Antoine-Jean
• was teacher to Ingres, Jean Auguste Dominique
• was teacher to Isabey, Jean Baptiste
• was teacher to Klinkowström, Friedrich August von
• drew Marie Antoinette, queen of France
• worked for Napoleon I Bonaparte
• was teacher to Paulze, Marie-Anne Pierrette
• painted Paulze, Marie-Anne Pierrette
• painted Récamier, Juliette
• was painted by Schmeller, Johann Joseph
• was teacher to Wächter, Eberhard von

4/1/1808David presents to Napoleon the final version of his painting of Napoleon's coronation. Napoleon was very pleased with the result. [Napoleon I Bonaparte]


The grave of Jacques-Louis David at Père Lachaise, Paris. His heart is buried here and his body was buried in Brussels.
Picture by Androom (19 Nov 2006)


"La Mort de Socrate" ("Death of Socrates").
(New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art)

"Comtesse Daru".
   (1810, New York: Frick Collection)

• Le Clère, Marcel, Cimetières & Sepultures de Paris, Hachette, Paris, 1978
Schilderkunst van A tot Z, REBO, Lisse, 1990
napoleon.org - Le site d'histoire de la Fondation Napoléon

Davies, Scrope Berdmore

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 26 Jan 2022