Biography of David, Jacques-Louis - Archontology
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David, Jacques-Louis

Jacques-Louis David

b. 30 Aug 1748, Paris, France [1]
d. 29 Dec 1825, Brussels, Netherlands (now Belgium)

Title: Président de la Convention nationale (President of the National Convention)
Term: 5 Jan 1794 - 20 Jan 1794
Chronology: 5 Jan 1794, elected, session of the National Convention, salle des Machines, Palais national des Tuileries, Paris [2]
6 Jan 1794, assumed the chair, session of the National Convention, salle des Machines, Palais national des Tuileries, Paris [3]
20 Jan 1794, ceased to exercise the functions of office upon the election of a successor [4]
Names/titles: Chevalier David, chevalier de l'Empire [from 10 Sep 1808]
Born into the family of a prosperous Parisian dealer in iron; was raised by two uncles, who took care of him after the death of father (1757); educated at a boarding school and the Collège des Quatre Nations in Paris; chose to become an artist and studied under Joseph-Marie Vien; entered the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture (1766-1774); lived in Italy (1775-1780), where drew from antique models; was made an associate member of the Académie Royale (1781) for his work "Belisarius Asking Alms", and full member (1783) for "Andromache Mourning Hector"; fulfilled the governmental commission "Oath of the Horatii" (1784), a masterpiece of Neoclassicism; painted "The Lictors Bringing to Brutus the Bodies of His Sons" (1789) for King Louis XVI; enthusiastically greeted the Revolution; member of the Jacobin Club; elected (17 Sep 1792) to the Convention nationale (National Convention) (1792-1795) as a deputy for the département of Paris; took seat with the Montagnards; voted for the death sentence in the trial of Louis XVI; president of the Jacobin Club (16 Jun 1793 - 12 Jul 1793); served as a member of the Comité de sûreté générale (Committee of General Security) (14 Sep 1793 - 31 Jul 1794), President of the National Convention (5 Jan 1794 - 20 Jan 1794); accomplished a series of paintings reflecting the history of the Revolution ("Oath of the Tennis Court", "Death of Lepeletier de Saint-Fargeau", "The Dead Marat"); greatly influenced the development of art in revolutionary France; emphatically supported Maximilien Robespierre during the coup of 9 Thermidor, Year II (27 Jul 1794); was denounced and imprisoned; released (27 Dec 1794) and re-admitted to the National Convention (28 Dec 1794); as ardent adherent of the Montagnards, was arrested after the insurrection of 1 Prairial, Year III (20 May 1795); amnestied (26 Oct 1795); abandoned politics and flourished as artist during the Consulate and First Empire; created many paintings of Napoléon I ("Coronation", "Napoleon Distributing the Eagles", "Napoleon in His Study"); was created member (18 Dec 1803) and officer (22 Oct 1808) of the Legion of Honour; proscribed as regicide (1816) and fled to Brussels.
Biographical sources: Dictionnaire des Conventionnels, 180-181; Dictionnaire des parlementaires français 1789-1889, 2:272-273; "Jacques-Louis David, Revolutionary Artist: Art, Politics, and the French Revolution", by Warren Roberts (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989); "David", by Simon Lee (London: Phaidon, 1999); "Jacques-Louis David", by Anita Brookner (New York: Harper & Row, 1980); "Nouvelles archives de l'art français: recueil de documents inédits publiés par la Société de l'Histoire de l'Art Français, années 1874-1875" (Paris: J. Baur, 1875) (web site)

Candidate Votes (5 Jan 1794)
Jacques-Louis David 106
voters/absolute majority 160/81
Source of electoral results: Archives parlementaires - Série 1, 83:34.

[1] "Nouvelles archives de l'art français", op. cit., pp. 374-375: "Du vendredi, trentieme août 1748, fut baptisé Jacques-Louis, fils de Louis-Maurice David, marchand mercier et de Marie-Geneviève Buron, sa femme, demeurant quai de la Mégisserie; le parrain, Jacques Prévost, marchand potier d'étain; la marraine, Jeanne-Marguerite Le Mesle, femme de Jacques Buron, maître maçon. L'enfant est né aujourd'hui; et ont signé, excepté la marraine qui a déclaré ne le savoir : Prevot, David, L. Perrault, vicaire (St-Germain l'Auxerrois)."
[2] Archives parlementaires - Série 1, 83:34; Procès-verbal de la Convention nationale, 28:339.
[3] Archives parlementaires - Série 1, 83:37-62.
[4] Archives parlementaires - Série 1, 83:511; Procès-verbal de la Convention nationale, 30:18.
Image: self-portrait, 1794.