Draped Figure


Jacques-Louis David ( French, 1748 - 1825 )

late 18th century
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General Description

Jacques-Louis David may have produced this as a figure study or sketch in preparation for one of his completed paintings. Draftsmanship played a major role in David’s working method. He often used mannequins or live models to study individual details, such as drapery, and he filled sketchbooks with drawings of ancient statuary and architecture. Here, the male figure wears the costume and hairstyle of a Greek philosopher and sits on an antique-style throne with legs carved to look like griffins or hybrid creatures.

The art of David fully embodies the Neoclassical style, which had its origins in England but flourished in France during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. As a student of Joseph-Marie Vien, one of the pioneers of French Neoclassicism, David is known for his austere, moralizing paintings with classical subject matter.

Excerpt from

Franny Brock, DMA label copy, 2016.

Fun Facts

  • Napoleon Bonaparte appointed Jacques-Louis David First Painter after he declared himself emperor in 1804.

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