Revolutionary agitator. Image-maker to Napoleon. Political exile. Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825) was the most famous—and controversial—artist of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. His art traced its roots to the grand traditions of the Italian Renaissance and ancient Greece and Rome, but it was also inextricably linked with the political and social upheaval of his era. Jacques-Louis David: Empire to Exile traces the last twenty-five years of his turbulent career, from the mid-1790s following his imprisonment for his political entanglements, until his death in 1825 as an exile in Brussels. During this period David created some of the most powerful political images in modern history. He also made provocative paintings of classical myths as well as portraits of great sensitivity and directness. This exhibition, the first to focus on David's late career, offers a fresh assessment of the work of one of European art's canonical masters.
Jacques-Louis David: Empire to Exile has been organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities and by the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support was provided by The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston.