Composition with Three Figures

Composition with Three Figures / David

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In Brussels David created around 30 drawings depicting small groups of intensely expressive figures. After the Revolution David came to believe that artists needed to find new ways of representing the broad range of emotion in contemporary life. These drawings are part of an ambitious project to expand art's capacity to represent emotion.

Like the other drawings in this group, this drawing has no clear narrative. The stern older man on the left stares mysteriously at us, while the young man on the right supports a veiled woman—perhaps ill, perhaps dead?

The rough texture of this drawing recalls the crudeness of early lithography, a printmaking technique recently introduced to Paris and Brussels.