JACQUES LOUIS DAVID,Vintage Art Masterpieces,Vintage Prints for Sale Mlle Charlotte Du Val D’Ognes by JACQUES LOUIS DAVID {French School}

Mlle Charlotte Du Val D’Ognes by JACQUES LOUIS DAVID {French School}

Mlle Charlotte Du Val D'Ognes Mlle Charlotte Du Val D’Ognes

by JACQUES LOUIS DAVID {French School}

 

IN the frenzied epoch of the Revolution, the French politicians, governing by
rationalism and ideology, drafted laws for Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity,
as derived from a study of the ancients.

Following the Red current of the time,
the political artists, also by processes of reason, arrived at the dogma that
art was “an absolute harmony of forms attained only by a knowledge of the
antique; that true beauty was untouched by changes of fashion, because it was
realized, once for all by the Greeks and Romans.”

In support of this dogma,
there appeared, as if by foreordination, a painter, politician, and antiquarian
all in one. His name was Jacques Louis David.

 

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Winning the Prix de Rome in his fifth competition-he attempted suicide
after his fourth failure-David went to Italy and was converted at once to the
neoclassic fetish. In 1784, his Oath of the Horatii,

a perfect reflex of the tastes
of his compatriots, was welcomed with a political clamor rarely accorded to
a work of art. David became the leader, and with the Revolution, the Caesar
of painting. Never before or since was art so completely dominated by the
will of one man-his authority was so despotic that his enemies were com­
pelled to imitate him or lose their heads.

The terrible events of the Revolution
made no impression on him. From a reserved seat in a window he made a
sketch of Marie Antoinette on her way to the scaffold; when it was announced
that eighty people had been guillotined in a morning, he inquired disappoint­
edly, “No more than that?”

Yet David, by fanatical diligence, acquired a hard mastery of paintmg
that amounted almost to genius. He drew from models, but his drawings
were based upon precedent and rigid prescription to conform to arbitrary or
ideal proportions supposed to be pure Greek.

His huge Roman legends and
Napoleonic space fillers are museum relics of dictatorial confidence; but in
portraiture, confronted with a living problem on a modest scale, his classical
apparatus was humanized, and he continues to hold a high position.

There is
no romantic softness in Mlle Cluu lotte du Val d’Ognes, painted in 1800 and
no uncertainty in the painting. The costume, which David designed as appro­
priate for his Empire furniture, is arranged in the classical folds of Greek
statuary, and the figure is modeled in the antique style;

but in other respects,
the sitter is a French girl of the period, so posed and clothed and drawn as
to remain, in the artist’s words, “untouched by the changes of fashion.”

 

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