Farrah asked this question on the artcone forums: Jacques-Louis David is one of my favourite artists. The neoclassicist movement would be unthinkable without his memorable paintings. I particularly love his “Death of Marat”, “Tennis Court Oath”, and “Death of Socrates”.
The man embodied many contradictions, something I can definitely relate to. A friend of Robespierre(an idol of mine), he pledged solidarity to the death; in his famous quote he promised Robespierre “If you take the hemlock, I shall, too.” Of course, he survived Robespierre’s fall from power, did not take hemlock, and was imprisoned for a time.
Released from prison, he aligned himself with Napoleon and his work became the quintessence of the First Empire style. For a man of revolution, a man who sketched Marie Antoinette on her way to execution, the embracing of a new royalty was quite a turnaround.
So I ask, was his service to his ideals(whatever those happened to be at the moment) or to himself?