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DAVID & NAPOLEON GRAND FORMATS CONSULATE & EMPIRE ANTIQUITY REVISITED DRAWINGS PORTRAITS IN EXILE
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In 1816, David was banished by the newly restored monarchy and took refuge in Brussels. There he found himself in a community of other French exiles, many of whom had republican ties or had been high ranking officials in Napoleon's court. While a number of these people commissioned portraits from David, perhaps motivated by political sympathy, aristocrats from throughout Europe were also keen to be painted by him, and he accepted these commissions just as readily. David habitually placed his sitters against a plain background, closely framed by the edges of the canvas, thereby increasing the feeling of intimacy between sitter and viewer. His late portraits were painted with great restraint, lacking any affectation, with the artist facing his sitters as his equal. These portraits had an immediate and powerful impact on portrait painters working in Belgium.
© 2005 Sterling and Francine
Clark Art Institute


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