Humbert de Superville, David

BORN 18 Jul 1770, Den Haag, Zuid-Holland - DIED 13 Jan 1849, Leiden, Zuid-Holland
BIRTH NAME Humbert de Superville, David Pièrre
GRAVE LOCATION Leiden, Zuid-Holland: Groenesteeg begraafplaats, Groenesteeg 126 (A 62)

David Humbert de Superville was the son of the artist Jean Hubert (1734-1794). David addded the last name of his grandmother Emilie de Superville to his own surname. In 1789 he was able to travel to Rome to study art. In Rome he took lessons and he earned the nickname Giottino because his work showed similarities with that of Giotto di Bondone (c1266-1337). With William Ottley he travelled to Toscane and Umbria in search of early examples of frescoe art.

Humbert de Superville supported the French Revolution and sided wuth the republicans that came to power in Rome in 1798. In 1799 he joined the French army. But after the pope returned to Rome he was imprisoned for four months in the dungeons of the Civita Vecchia prison. He created many drawings during his time in prison. He was released during an exchange of prisoners and he was shipped to France.

He stayed in Paris for a while and by 1802 he was back in the Netherlands. He worked as a teacher in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Enkhuizen at a naval institution. After the institution was closed by Napoleon his friends helped him to a job in Leiden as drawing master at the Ars Aemula Naturae. He also obtained a position as lector of French and Italian literature at Leiden University. In 1816 he married Anna Elisabeth Paradijs (1788-1817), the daughter of professor Nicolaas Paradijs (1740-1812). Ten months after the marriage they had twins, but Anna died on the day she gave birth to the two boys. One of them died after two years.

David became a well known draughtsman, painter, lithographer and scholar. In 1825 he became the first director of the Prentenkabinet in Leiden. In 1827 he published "Essai sur les signes inconditionnels dans l’art" in which he expressed his views on art. In 1840 his second son died and after that he largely retired from society. He died in 1849 in Leiden.

Related persons
• was painted by Cornet, Jacobus
• was teacher to Cornet, Jacobus


The grave of David Humbert de Superville at the Groenesteeg cemetery in Leiden, Zuid-Holland.
Picture by Androom (29 Dec 2022)



Hume, David

Published: 01 Jan 2023
Last update: 01 Jan 2023