Jacques-Louis David Paintings


David was the very first French painter to combine classical concepts with spatial accuracy and minimalistic compositions.. His paintings were created at a time when art that conveyed a strong moral message was in high demand.

early training

Jacques-Louis David enrolled at the Royal Academy in 1766. He was keen to gain the renowned Prix de Rome (which subsidized a residence in Rome), but he was unsuccessful at first.

mature period

In Paris, Jacques-Louis David’s paintings were gaining recognition as was his contentious behavior, which regularly clashed with the French Royal Academy.

mature period

David was also able to instruct younger artists as a member of the Academy, and his School of David became a respected studio where the younger generation of French painters could acquire their skills.

late period

In December 1795, he was offered a position at the Academy of Painting, which had superseded the Royal Academy. His art was in high demand once again, thanks in part to his acquaintance with France’s new ruler, Napoleon Bonaparte.


His direct participation in politics connected history painting to present events and this responsiveness would inspire succeeding artists to reflect the modern world.


David’s paintings were such a feature of art history in the 20th century that it was frequently referenced by other artists who wanted to make strong political statements in their own eras.

art style

David was a competent politician who adjusted his trade to the demands of each of his patrons while being most remembered for his activities throughout the French Revolution.

famous artworks

Among his most famous artworks include Napoleon Bonaparte crossing the Alps at Grand Saint Bernard (1802), and Apelles Painting Campaspe in the Presence of Alexander the Great (1812), among others.

famous drawings

While David and his artworks were both praised - or loathed, dependent on the audience's political attitude - his sketches, the basis of everything he created, were almost unnoticed.